Dads/Partners at birth

LaborBradley® Natural Childbirth classes were traditionally known as Husband Coached Childbirth®, a term coined by Dr. Robert Bradley.  He was one of the first obstetricians to bring fathers into the birthing room. He realized that women needed the support of a loving partner, and who better than the father of her child. These days not all women have a husband or male partner, but it is still important for her to have the support of someone who loves her, and is there just for her. Such emotional and physical support can make a huge difference in a woman’s sense of security.

So, most families who choose Bradley® classes do so because they want their beloved partner to be trained as their primary labor assistant.  Or, they at least want them prepared enough to attend and participate without running screaming from the room, or passing out.

The fact is that Men/partners can bring their own fear into the birthing room.  This can make things more difficult for the mother.  So if you do want your partner/husband there, make sure they are well prepared.  In addition to classes, watching positive, natural birth films can be very helpful. A classic Bradley class will show births that give specific examples of  how a partner can help and support the birthing woman.  They also acclimate a partner to what behaviors are normal for a laboring woman so they will not be frightened or alarmed by them.

Bradley® classes very specifically train a woman’s partner of choice in how to act as a primary labor assistant, and educate them enough to understand how the process works, and why it works that way.  They learn the benefits of normal, natural labor for both the mother and the baby, and how they can best facilitate that.

Occasionally a woman’s partner cannot, or chooses not to, act as the primary labor assistant, in spite of the education they receive, and that’s ok.  Better they realize that early, and help the woman hire a Doula to take on that role.  But the education is not wasted in either way, as they can still be present and helpful in other ways.  But it is most important that they have an understanding of what is normal during labor and why it is that way.  Then they can assist with decision making, if necessary, as a woman’s legal partner is the one who may be asked to make serious choices if the woman is unable to do so for herself.

Overall, what effect does education for the family have on maternal and infant outcomes? Basically we see much lower intervention rates, and half the cesarean rate, when compared to the general population.  But remember, regardless of the type of childbirth class you choose the most important factor is a healthy positive birth experience.  It’s not about perfect birth, it’s about healthy birth!

For more information or to sign up for a Bradley Natural Childbirth class series contact your local Bradley instructor.  In  Rochester  NY: Healthy Birth Of Rochester, or nationally: