Beautiful yet terrifying, giving birth can be both anxious and painful for the mother while producing the feeling of frustration and helplessness for the partner.

Pain can be reduced by medication, but at the cost of emotion, so to experience a pain-reduced birth that doesn’t include de-sensifying drugs is now sought. 

One of the most popular options is the Bradley birth class and is a way of being able to undergo the labor and delivery in a relatively pain-free manner while circumventing the need for medication

In addition, it brings the prospective mother’s partner in from the shadows of the process, giving them a central role, and allowing both to co-experience a Joyful Birth of their child. 

What is the Bradley Birth Method

The Bradley birth method is a technique for experiencing pain-free birth through the practice of meditation, controlled breathing, and relaxation rather than through the use of medication.

The method is not contained to the moment of birth but is a twelve-week process that readies and trains both the mother and partner up to the moment that birth is given.

It is a process that places the birthing partner at the center of the pregnancy, giving them an essential coaching and supporting role allowing for a shared emotional journey. 

How Was the Bradley Birth Method Developed

It was in the immediate post-Second World War years that the Bradley birthing method was developed. It was through the work of Dr. Robert Bradley that laid down the foundation of the method used today.

He argued against the use of medication during the birthing process, as births had become over-dependent on drugs, which in many cases had an utterly de-sensifying effect on the mother, who, in some instances, found themselves unable to push.

Instead, he was the first doctor to encourage the presence of the father (birth partner today) during labor, maintaining that this could help relieve the stress and anxiety of the mother.

By lessening anxiety, pain became manageable, and the partners could play a more active role in the delivery and share a more extraordinary emotional experience that otherwise would be lost. 

What Does the Bradly Birth Course Contain

From these origins, the Bradley birth method has become a more complete process of introducing other techniques that can help alleviate or all but eliminate the pain of labor and birth.

The course is usually conducted over a twelve-week timeframe, with specific aspects employed each week. These include:

  • Understanding and maintaining the correct diet during the third trimester.
  • Performing the right antenatal exercises to help with breathing and the delivery. 
  • Detailed explanations of how each aspect of the process fits with each other.
  • Helping you understand every stage of the labor and delivery 

Face-to-Face Classes

Traditionally, the Bradley birth program is based on in person classes. These classes are usually made up of a small number of women expecting their first child, their partners and the instructor.

The partner’s presence is fundamental to the process as he acts as a support trainer for the mother, helping them through each stage and maintaining the practice of the processes involved at home.

Live antenatal classes also have a level of discussion and reassurance between either partner and the instructor. With instant feedback, the process can be carried out with more confidence.

Can You Take the Course Online

Because of the critical role that the husband or birthing partner plays, taking the course online is certainly a doable option. This can be via the streaming of live classes through platforms such as Zoom, an option the Covid-19 crisis made necessary, or a drip-fed, pre-recorded course. 

As much of the grunt work will fall on the shoulders of the partner in seeing the mother-to-be through the practice and the process both methods work well. Assuming that you record the zoom meetings you have the option of going over the instructors material on more than one occasion, rather than having to refer back to the manual as live personal classes don’t provide this option.

The downside of working through the Bradley method online rather than via interpersonal face-to-face classes is the ability to have an extended one-to-one conversation with the instructor. This might be especially true of a pre-recorded course.

Advantages of the Bradley Birth Method

The Bradley birthing method has a number of advantages over births involving epidural or other pain relief solutions. As noted, one of the most important aspects is that it allows the birthing mother to experience a relatively pain-free birth that comes with a shared moving experience that can build a deeper emotional connection between the partners. 

It is more than just a labor and delivery management process but rather a holistic approach to pregnancy to ensure the mother remains healthy, has no anxiety and is fully prepared for the delivery.  


The Bradley birthing process is an effective way for the mother and husband (birthing partner) of being able to deliver their child into the world without the advantage of medication in as pain-free a manner as possible.

It is a process that brings the birthing partner in from the margins and makes them crucial to mother during the course and ultimate delivery. Indeed, the Bradley method is not just about labor and delivery but a holistic approach to the whole pregnancy, resulting in potentially relationship-transforming emotional connections.