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History of the Bradley Method

The following is an excerpt from an article in "Parents" Magazine by Leah Yarrow

In 1966, Majie Hathaway, just days before she was due to give birth, flew with her husband, Jay, and three small children from California to Denver. The Hathaways had heard Dr. Robert Bradley, a Denver obstetrician, speak about his method of natural childbirth and were determined to attempt the kind of delivery he described: a spontaneous, unmedicated birth with husband coaching during labor and delivery and the mother breast-feeding the newborn on the delivery table. They couldn't find a doctor in their area to agree to those conditions, so they flew right to the source. And after a relatively easy labor and birth, they were holding their fourth child within 36 hours of landing on Dr. Bradley's doorstep. So that others wouldn't have to travel so far for this kind of birth, the Hathaways, along with Dr. Bradley, founded the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth to teach the Bradley Method.

Dr. Bradley's theory and record

  • Dr. Bradley began developing his method in 1947.

  • His credo: "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature, and if you do, you'll wish you hadn't."

  • Dr. Bradley never had a maternal death in his years of obstetrical practice.

  • 94% of his patients had unmedicated births.

  • 3% of his patients had complications requiring medication and 3% were cesarean births. Dr. Bradley considered this an irreducible minimum.

  • Dr. Bradley believed that labor and birth did not have to be an awful experience and could be less painful, even exhilarating.

  • Dr. Bradley encouraged his patients to read and become educated consumers.

  • Dr. Bradley considered himself as a lifeguard at a pool, "Ninety-four percent [of swimmers] have a wonderful time. But somebody gets cramps or bumps their head and there's a sudden... emergency." In the the Bradley Method, the doctor takes the backseat to the husband-wife team.


For more information on The Bradley Method, for an international listing of instructors, or to contact the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth directly, please contact: The Bradley Method, Box 5224, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413-5224 - (800) 4-A-BIRTH or (818) 788-6662 -