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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last week I went to our very small local library for some pregnancy books, as I have exhausted reading my small collection of books. I tried to get the most liberal ones. I've never read anything about the Bradley method, so I saw "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" by Susan McCutcheon-Rosegg and Peter Rosegg.<br><br>
I got the book because I've heard a lot of UP/UC mamas and homebirth/natural childbirth mamas talk about how great it is. I did not find it to be that way at all.<br><br>
Am I the only one? Am I missing something about this method that is great? I didn't read the whole book, just flipped through and read snippets here and there, but I didn't give it more of my attention. Just wanted to ask you ladies what you liked or didn't like about it.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>augustacherri</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9870812"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Last week I went to our very small local library for some pregnancy books, as I have exhausted reading my small collection of books. I tried to get the most liberal ones. I've never read anything about the Bradley method, so I saw "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" by Susan McCutcheon-Rosegg and Peter Rosegg.<br><br>
I got the book because I've heard a lot of UP/UC mamas and homebirth/natural childbirth mamas talk about how great it is. I did not find it to be that way at all.<br><br>
Am I the only one? Am I missing something about this method that is great? I didn't read the whole book, just flipped through and read snippets here and there, but I didn't give it more of my attention. Just wanted to ask you ladies what you liked or didn't like about it.</div>
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Hi, I am biased since I teach Bradley, but yeah the books out there on it basically suck. The McCutcheon book is the best of the bunch but of course it was being written for all hospital OB birthing women who were having to deal with different things than we deal with today. I think you can't get a good feel for why Bradley is so consistently good for natural birth wanting folks without taking a class from a really good instructor. Bradley is about knowledge, advocacy and working with your body's instincts in labor. No teacher today teaches just laying in bed laboring like the book does, but at the time of the book being written there really wasn't such a thing as upright laboring in hospitals. Unfortunately the Bradley Academy isn't staffed by good writers (witness the awful "Children at Birth") and I doubt we will see a good Bradley text written since they haven't allowed anyone to write a new book since. One Bradley teacher wrote about becoming a childbirth educator and she wasn't even allowed to mention in her book that she WAS a Bradley teacher.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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Just a few of the many reasons I no longer teach Bradley, mentioned above. The Academy just refuses to hear teacher input or ever change anything in any significant way. Thanks to teachers infusing the method with their own spirits, many individual bradley classes are still fabulous despite the failings of the academy.<br><br>
That said, it's hard to picture a UCer in a bradley class.
 

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I took Bradley for my first home birth. What I liked about it was that it teaches relaxation, listening to your body, and breathing NORMALLY! Also, nutrition which I think so many prenatal courses and doctors completely ignore. I ended up not taking the whole thing because I felt I had a good grasp of the material already (and it was a $400 refresher!) and I had a MW who was addressing many of these things already.<br><br>
As far as "learning" about birth and what to expect from a hospital birth (and how to get what you want) I think it's tops!
 

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Modern Bradley teaches natural childbirth, with pretty much the same information you're going to find in any natural childbirth class -- why interventions are risky, taking cues from your body, the importance of early bonding, etc.<br><br>
Bradley talks about the importance of the mother having the security and intimacy husbands can often provide, and how the doctor just gets in the way, and he alludes to the sexuality of birth. All good.<br><br>
There are a couple of things Bradley adds, though, that I don't like -- first, I find the idea that women need to be trained (and yes, "trained" is the word Bradley uses) to behave naturally in birth to be an oxymoron. I think women just <i>will</i> behave naturally in birth if they don't have preconceived notions or outside expectations about how they should be behaving, and if they are in an environment where they can be fully uninhibited. Training, imo, is just replacing one set of assumptions and expectations for another.<br><br>
Bradley: "But human animals have to be taught to give birth. They do not know how to conduct themselves in labor. They have to be trained."<br><br>
Oh ho HO! No. No no no no. Now, it's understandable, given what Bradley was working with, that he came to the conclusions he did. But he did not understand what primal, instinctive, purely physiological birth is really about. And once you do, his perception of what women in labor naturally do and need is no longer accurate.<br><br>
Here's Bradley on second stage: "We explain to husbands that in between pushes his wife will be companionable again. She may become downright garrulous and I don't know why this is, but between pushes in second stage of labor our trained, educated, calm, self-controlled mothers just love to talk. They come out of transition stage where they didn't want a word spoken by anybody. Then they start pushing which is much easier and more satisfying. I guess doing something is easier than doing nothing.<br><br>
In second stage the about-to-be mother has longer rest periods between contractions which are now farther apart. The uterus is partially empty. The cervix is completely dilated, and the baby's presenting part has slipped through. It's as if the uterus says to the woman: "Okay, I've done my work, now it's up to you." In other words the mountain literally levels off just before you get to the summit. This makes for much better control."<br><br>
Modern Bradley teachers may understand that this is not actually what happens in instinctive, physiological second stage -- it's what happens in managed, directed birth (sometimes.) But that perception is what he based his ideas about the importance of control and technique on. If the perception is wrong, the conclusions based on that perception are no longer relevant.<br><br>
Second, the idea that the husband should coach the mother, and that he has to be taught how to be with the mother in labor. To address that latter part, it is the man's perception of what is expected of him, and the inhibiting environment, that causes him to act in a way that is, while meaning to be helpful, not in sync with what the mother needs.<br><br>
And the idea of a coach is, again, contrary to the idea of autonomic, instinctive birth.
 

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There is actually a study help in the workbook that says, I paraphrase, "Sometimes women in labor forget how to push. Write a brief lesson on how to push" for the coaches. I hate that. I also think that the way a woman and her partner work together in labor will be an extension of their relationship, a pinnacle really, and they don't need training for that. I do love that dads learn comfort measures though I have found they often forget them all in the moment!<br><br>
Dr. Bradley was also anti-homebirth.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>fourlittlebirds</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9873066"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">There are a couple of things Bradley adds, though, that I don't like -- first, I find the idea that women need to be trained (and yes, "trained" is the word Bradley uses) to behave naturally in birth to be an oxymoron. I think women just <i>will</i> behave naturally in birth if they don't have preconceived notions or outside expectations about how they should be behaving, and if they are in an environment where they can be fully uninhibited. Training, imo, is just replacing one set of assumptions and expectations for another.<br><br>
Bradley: "But human animals have to be taught to give birth. They do not know how to conduct themselves in labor. They have to be trained."</div>
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I believe that this idea also stems from the fact that he was observing hospital births. UC, and even homebirth, lend themselves to a woman being able to behave naturally in birth. They are in their "nest". Had he been attending homebirths, he might have found that the women he was attending didn't need "training", they just did what they needed to do. But once you step out your front door and are on someone else's turf, there is often a shift... even if it isn't conscious. So he had this idea to "train" women to behave like they would if they were comfortable in their own home.<br><br>
Even though he was ridiculously better about episiotomies than pretty much all of his fellow obs at the time, he still had a 50% rate <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I thought his rate was in the 30s. Still not good but way ahead of his time. Even 50% was ahead of his time. I like to think that if he were practicing today he'd no longer be doing routine episiotomies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow---good insights, ladies. I appreciate all the feedback.<br><br>
I guess I just really balk at the notion of husbands basically becoming a replacement OB who KNOW what's best for the little wifey during labor because they've praticed all the proper exercises. I agree with what you all are saying though, about why he felt it necessary to take this approach in the setting he practiced in.<br><br>
Being a firm UCer, though, can't imagine my husband (or anybody at all) knowing more about MY labor than I have/will. I'm the one who will be experiencing it, right?<br><br>
That said, I'm sure some of the techniques and ideas could be very helpful for lots of women (and men). But I don't think I have ever read the word "should" so much in one book ("your wife should do this or that," " you should push in this position," "the coach should do this" etc.).
 

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I didn't like the books....my main gripe was the same thing some of y'all mentioned...the "coach" aspect. My dh is NOT my coach in labor, if anything, he is my partner...but *I* still call the shots, lol!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>SublimeBirthGirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9873889"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I thought his rate was in the 30s. Still not good but way ahead of his time. Even 50% was ahead of his time. I like to think that if he were practicing today he'd no longer be doing routine episiotomies.</div>
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Yeah, i just looked it up in Husband-Coached Childbirth. Although he did say that if he were doing it now (as in, the time the book was written) it would be even lower.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">And the idea of a coach is, again, contrary to the idea of autonomic, instinctive birth.</td>
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Totally. It annoys me to no end the whole notion of women needing coaches or a method, but I realize in the current birthing climate in many areas of the world, Bradley, for many parents, can make a huge difference in the amount of interventions avoided. And that's a good thing <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> So, I'll sit on my hands about this topic.<br><br>
I have to admit that I did enjoy <a href="http://www.mothering.com/articles/pregnancy_birth/birth_preparation/bradley.html" target="_blank">this</a> Bradley article in MM <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I wasn't too happy with Bradley Method when I was planning a MW attended HB. I didn't want my DH with me during labor- I only wanted women around me, or to be left alone.
 

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What we got out of our class when we took it years ago:<br><br>
Information. Less fear (for DH) and that he was going to have to help me if I wanted him to.<br><br>
Those were worth the class though I don't think the method did anything for us, but the information and empowerment for my DH did.<br><br>
You can take the good and chuck the bad. There's always SOME good.
 

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IMO Bradley, overall, is a great class for hospital birthers.
 

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I've never researched Bradley all that much because I was able to get my hands on an early edition and read some of the stuff in there and was so disgusted that I can't bring myself to study up on a method developed by IMHO a misogynist. Reading things like how women like to be cut and if she has the baby on the way to the hospital to make sure she keeps her filthy hands off of it and hands it over to the professionals just totally turned me off.
 

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Thank you Papaya! Well said.<br><br>
I will say I have seen Bradley Method work well for hospital birth couples, and it is far better suited to getting what you want in a hospital than to homebirth, IMO.<br><br>
I have seen this type of method --husband 'coached'--work well for couples where the man is the Boss/Head of family, and the woman chooses to accept a submissive role and wants her man to direct her. In such relationships, the men seem to gain confidence in learning tools to do the job, and the women are often grateful that the husband uses those tools!<br><br>
But yeah, I totally disagree with a lot of what Bradley has to say, and with the whole idea that a woman, by nature, NEEDS training or coaching.<br><br>
To me it is at least oxymoronic, and at worst incredible arrogance, for any man to presume to teach women (or anyone) about giving birth. Or anything about women's bodies generally. Now, Grantley Dick-Read, the Dr from whom we received 'fear tension pain syndrome' and upon whose work Bradley's work is founded--he is different to me. He learned from the women--and then he went on to share that knowledge. I'm happy for any man to teach about birth--WHEN that man has learned what he knows from the women! I consider Michel Odent to be in the same category...a man worth listening to, because his thoughts were formulated by observing and learning from women themselves.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>fourlittlebirds</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9873066"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br>
There are a couple of things Bradley adds, though, that I don't like -- first, I find the idea that women need to be trained (and yes, "trained" is the word Bradley uses) to behave naturally in birth to be an oxymoron. I think women just <i>will</i> behave naturally in birth if they don't have preconceived notions or outside expectations about how they should be behaving, and if they are in an environment where they can be fully uninhibited. Training, imo, is just replacing one set of assumptions and expectations for another.<br><br>
Bradley: "But human animals have to be taught to give birth. They do not know how to conduct themselves in labor. They have to be trained."<br></div>
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I am with you on this one completely. Even though I have had hospital births thus far I never took any classes for the main reason that I wanted my body to instictively do what it is meant to do and not try and mold the experience to a method. I always felt the body and mind would know what to do and it didn't fail me. With my first I had a young male Dr. chastise me because I wasn't "breathing properly". I wanted to rip his eyes out but instead I said, "I am certainly not taking advice from someone without a uterus."
 

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I was totally unable to connect to my instincts in a hospital setting, and the fact that my husband knew somewhat what was going on and how to help me was a birth-saver. He was extremely involved in keeping me comfortable and keeping me from freaking out. That's why I think Bradley can work well for hospital birthers-how many women can truly be instinctive in that setting? The minority, I believe.<br><br>
we didn't do anything together, birthwise, for my 2nd, my UC. He snoozed on a bean bag chair by the birth pool til I started pushing, basically. I was able to be totally in touch with what I needed and was much more inwardly focused during 1st stage (though having him in the pool during 2nd stage was great, to know that we were doing this by ourselves was very bonding for us).
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>SublimeBirthGirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9871267"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Just a few of the many reasons I no longer teach Bradley, mentioned above. The Academy just refuses to hear teacher input or ever change anything in any significant way. Thanks to teachers infusing the method with their own spirits, many individual bradley classes are still fabulous despite the failings of the academy.<br><br>
That said, it's hard to picture a UCer in a bradley class.</div>
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Actually, I had a MDC mama UCer in my class last year and she found it very postive and helpful ( I know cause I peeked at her posts about my class <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">).<br>
My class is usually filled with a combo of home, BC and hospital couples when it starts and ends with all home and BC couples by the end<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">.
 
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