American Academy of Husband Coached Childbirth

The Bradley Method

Mom and Dad in Labor
Photo © Science Photo Library - IAN HOOTON/Getty Images

What is the Bradley Method?

"The Bradley Method® teaches natural childbirth and views birth as a natural process. It is our belief that most women with proper education, preparation, and the help of a loving and supportive coach can be taught to give birth naturally. The Bradley Method® is a system of natural labor techniques in which a woman and her coach play an active part. It is a simple method of increasing self-awareness, teaching a woman how to deal with the stress of labor by tuning in to her own body."

This method was started  by Marjie and Jay Hathaway after the birth of their child with Dr. Robert Bradley. They helped take his ideas and mold it into this huge childbirth education program that is trained many thousands of women and their partners to be childbirth educators in this method.

The core of the method is that birth is natural and that by staying relaxed with the help of your husband, you can easily go through labor without interventions. They have a very specific set of exercises, both physical and mental to work through.

For more on their frequently asked questions visit their site.

What to Expect in Childbirth Class:

Bradley Method Childbirth classes are supposed to be 12 weeks in length. The focus is one of natural childbirth and advocating for yourself. There is a bit about complicated births including cesareans and medications, but not much because they believe that if you follow their plan, there is little need for this information.

The emphasis is on relaxation during labor. There is very little on positioning for labor.

Find a Bradley Childbirth Class

Online Offerings:

Become a Trainer or Bradley Teacher:

There is a four day training held multiple times throughout the year. After the training you will teach a class series and be evaluated followed by an at home test.

It takes about nine months to finish the certification process. This is intentional, to mimic the pregnancy process.

As a Bradley Certified instructor, you will have to purchase one of their workbooks for every student. They have a newsletter but no regular conferences for continuing education. Recertification is more about sending in statistics on your classes that you have taught and the families who have come through your class. You may be asked to explain if your rates of unmedicated birth drop past a certain number.

They do have a message board on their website for you to share with other Bradley Instructors. Their website offers referrals for your classes. Many Bradley teachers say they get many referrals from the website and that it's a good source for that. 

Become a Bradley Certified Childbirth Educator

Books and Materials:

As with any method of childbirth education, there are usually some reading materials to go on. The two most frequently cited books about the Bradley Method are:

  • Husband Coached Childbirth by Dr. Robert Bradley, Marjie and Jay Hathaway
  • Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon

These books are a bit dated and many instructors would like to see them updated.

Dr. Bradley and Jay Hathaway have both passed away. Marjie and her son, James may be taking on this project.

Contact Information:

The American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®
The Bradley Method®
Box 5224
Sherman Oaks, CA 91413-5224
(800) 4-A-BIRTH or (818) 788-6662

Continue Reading