Marjie Hathaway, one of the founders of the Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth (more commonly known as The Bradley Method), has plenty of experience with birth. She's given birth six times - her first three births were medicated and her last three births were un-medicated. Although she has plenty to say on the topic, she is quick to emphasize that, "I'm not a medical person at all; I'm a mother."
The Bradley series runs for 12 weeks and is taught by independent affiliated instructors who have gone through a Bradley training course. Click here to find an instructor in your area.
ME: Why are there two names for this method - Husband-Coached Childbirth and The Bradley Method?
MARJIE: More people know us by The Bradley Method, which is the method. Husband-Coached Childbirth is the name of the book. A new edition is coming out May of 2008. Couples taking our 12 week course and having a vaginal birth choose to do so without medication 87% of the time.
ME: What are the actual "techniques" that women are taught through the Bradley Method to help them manage pain during labor?
MARJIE: Women are taught pregnancy exercises that help them get ready for this athletic event, Relaxation techniques that allow them to enjoy the event and have a powerful pain management tool if necessary. Husbands are trained as expert coaches/doulas. They know their wife, live with her and can help her with the exercises.
ME: Why did you choose to have a natural childbirth when you could have received "instant relief" with the push of a needle?
MARJIE: The big key is recovery. With a natural childbirth, I was up and running right away because I didn't have to recover from narcotics. Also, epidurals affect how babies breathe when they are born. Finally, there's something psychologically rewarding. You think, "I did it. I really did it." It's one of the highlights of my life. I'm not going to tell you it's easy. It's like climbing a mountain or running a marathon. But it is amazingly rewarding.
ME: What's the difference between Bradley and other natural child birth pain management techniques?
MARJIE: It's all based on natural childbirth...just letting the natural process work. Dr. Bradley was actually reluctant to call it "the Bradley method" because he always said, "It's God's method." He grew up on a farm and observed the way animals gave birth.
ME: What are the benefits of having a natural childbirth?
MARJIE: A natural birth is healthy for the mother and baby and family. Psychologically the bonding that occurs is amazing. Being able to do this can empower a mother with confidence for the rest of her life
ME: What is the state of childbirth in this country?
MARJIE: 91% of mothers are having epidurals*. Also the Center for Disease Control just released results last week that stated that 31% of babies are delivered by Cesarean**. It used to be that your mother would tell you about birth and you may have even been present at the birth of your siblings. I'm trying to share that information, the information that your mother should have told you.
* I'm not sure where this statistic is coming from. I'll do a little investigating and get back to you.
** I looked this up on the CDC website - here's the exact info: "Preliminary data for 2005 indicate that 30.2% of all live births in the United States were cesarean deliveries, marking the highest U.S. total cesarean rate ever reported. Since 1996, the total cesarean rate has increased by 46%..."
WIN IT! One winner will receive a copy of "Husband-Coached Childbirth" by Dr. Robert Bradley. To enter, simply leave a comment and your e-mail address by Saturday, December 22, at midnight. The winner will be announced and contacted on Sunday, December 23rd. * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.
* UPDATED * The winner is #9 jason and caryn. Congratulations!