Saturday, October 29, 2011

Article: by Chiqui Brosas, How Is The Bradley Method Different From The Lamaze Method?

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Do you have a high tolerance for pain? Is your husband gutsy enough to be by your side telling you how to breathe while you are on labor? Do you wish to give birth naturally i.e. without pain medications? If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, then you are likely to be more comfortable with the Bradley method for birthing. 
I have been teaching childbirth classes for eighteen years. Attended several ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association) conventions in the USA. Finished a full course of the Bradley Method as an instructor and have used the Lamaze method in my earlier births. Knowing that new couples are always eager to learn everything they can about their child’s birth, preparing for it is but natural. The best way to gear a couple on what to expect during childbirth is to attend a birthing class. The two most popular birthing methods are the Bradley and the Lamaze methods. Albeit both techniques lead to the same outcome-the birth of a couple’s little bundle of joy, the two differ in several aspects- the most significant of which is the issue of pain management. Below are some of the most significant differences between the Bradley method and the Lamaze method which can help a couple decide which method will best work for them, in case they decide to attend such class:
Date founded by obstetricians: The Bradley Method, popularly known as the husband-coached childbirth, is ahead of the Lamaze method only by a few years. For Dr. Robert Bradley started the Bradley method in 1947 in the USA while the Lamaze Method, popularized by Marjorie Karmel’s book“Thank You, Dr. Lamaze,” was introduced in France by Dr. Fernand Lamaze in 1951. Popularized by Marjorie Karmel through her book, Thank You, Dr. Lamaze.
Labor Partner: It was Dr. Bradley who paved the way for the husband to be with his wife in the labor & birthing room while the Lamaze , nine years thereafter, adopted the use of a monitrice or an assistant, other than the husband, to accompany the laboring mother.
Breathing: The Bradley method uses one kind of breathing from the beginning of labor to its end. It espouses a normal, rhythmic and abdominal breathing exercise aimed to ease tension on the muscles allowing the laboring mother to relax. It is the kind of breathing one uses while asleep. The Lamaze method, on the other hand, uses three altered breathing states - one breathing technique for each phase of labor.
Pushing: On the second stage of labor, or the phase wherein the baby is ready to come out and say hello, a Bradley trained mother is only taught to hold her breath to push the baby out of her womb while a Lamaze trained mother may be taught to hold or exhale while pushing.
Focus: Bradley uses internalization to control the pain of birthing. A mother is taught how to stay in tuned with her body and to focus on staying relaxed during labor while allowing her to welcome each contraction. The birthing mother has her eyes closed, thus the appearance of being asleep. The Lamaze method, on the contrary, uses more externalization. The mother tries to stare at a focal point during labor and resorts to different kinds of breathing to distract her attention from labor.
Comfort measures: Both methods resort to different massages and changing positions in labor.
Usual number of classes: There are twelve sessions ( or a minimum of eight classes if request is approved by the academy) in the Bradley Method and they are more focused on the naturalness of labor and birth, the way Mother Nature intended the birth to be. The Lamaze Method has six sessions. It is more liberal with regard to pain medication along with other medical interferences.
Success rate in giving birth naturally: Bradley aims for a 90% drug free or medical intervention free birth with over 80% average of success rate. The results of the births of the Bradley students are sent back to the American Academy of Husband Coached Childbirth which are then tabulated. In a statistic made out of 14,000 of Dr. Bradley’s patients, 94% of them were unmedicated. Only 3% required intervention because of medical reasons while the remaining 3% required cesarean operations.
Success rate for natural birthing is not being tabulated by the Lamaze method. When asked why, the best known Lamaze teacher and co-founder of ASPO ( American Society for Phychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics), the main office for training Lamaze teachers, Elizabeth Bing, wrote in her book Six Practical Lessons for an Easier Birth says, "I have often been asked the number of successes and failures among my students. I want you to realize that I do not accept the concept of failure in regard to women I prepare for childbirth. Before we train in our method, we all start off a point I call minus zero. Everyone of you will achieve zero plus, and this will be your point of total success." 
Studies show that a better informed mother on the birthing process is more likely to have a faster and an uncomplicated birth. Hence, attending a birthing class is ideal, choosing what class to attend, however, depends on the method which best matches the couple’s values, needs and level of commitment. No matter what method is chosen, always remember that each birthing is arduous but special. The ordeal makes the mother more empowered and the couple more bonded especially with the addition of a cute family member. This is regardless of one’s pain tolerance, or who the person she is with while on labor, or the use of any medication or intervention. At the end of the day, it is a healthy baby and mother that all matters. Happy birthing!

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