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Lamaze vs Bradley Childbirth Methods: Which is Right for You

As you prepare for your baby to arrive, you’re inevitably going to have to make a choice about how you want to give birth. You may be drawn to the idea of a more natural childbirth process, and two of the most well-known and popular in that regard are the Lamaze method of childbirth and the Bradley birth method.

Each of these different methods has its champions and detractors; the Lamaze vs. Bradley debate really began to heat up in the late 1980s and continues on to today. To choose between Lamaze vs. Bradley, you need more information on both… which you can find here!

What Are the Lamaze and Bradley Birth Methods?

What follows is a short primer on the Lamaze vs. Bradley methods to help you make the best decision possible for you and your baby. Let’s get started.

The Lamaze Method

First up is the Lamaze method.

The Lamaze method is a childbirth technique that focuses on natural childbirth without medication. It was developed in the 1940s and introduced in 1951 by Dr. Fernand Lamaze, who believed that childbirth should be a natural experience for both mother and child. The Lamaze method of childbirth encourages mothers to use breathing exercises and a variety of other techniques to stay calm during labor and delivery.

While Lamaze’s “psycho prophylaxis” (or “mind prevention”) method is most well known for its relaxation breathing exercises, it in fact also uses a variety of other techniques with breathing that can help the mother manage pain. These include utilizing low, rhythmic white noise with music or rain sounds, having the mother focus on positive thoughts during contractions, and having moms move around as contractions arrive to find a rhythm in tune with those contractions.

The idea is that the combination of all these various Lamaze techniques not only helps relax the mother but also encourages the baby to rotate in the womb and prepare for birth.

When To Learn Lamaze

It is recommended to take Lamaze classes in the third trimester, with about 12 hours of lessons total.

The Bradley Birth Method

The Bradley method of childbirth, meanwhile, was developed by Dr. Robert Bradley in the 1970s. It was based on his observations of women giving birth naturally in non-Westernized countries, in places where there are no pain medications available (or culturally accepted) as part of the birth process. The Bradley method is a gentle, low-intensity method of pushing the baby out, a welcome natural alternative to other childbirth methods such as epidural anesthesia or vaginal forceps delivery.

Though it has been used in some countries with a high prevalence of natural childbirth, the Bradley method does not have official international teaching guidelines.

When To Learn Bradley

The Bradley method is recommended for women who want to avoid interventions during labor, with lessons beginning from the last month of the first trimester.

What Are the Benefits of Lamaze vs. Bradley?

The benefits of the Lamaze and Bradley methods are different for each person. While there definitely are similarities between the two, it is important to do your research and figure out with your doctor which one is truly the best for you.

Lamaze is great for women who are at high risk for complications during childbirth, such as those who have preeclampsia or gestational diabetes that is not well controlled by medication. However, such women still need to take in fluids and medications throughout labor and birth, so it may not be purely Lamaze in those circumstances.

After taking Lamaze classes, mamas have more information and options to try to manage their pain. This leads them to have more confidence in what they’ll face once labor starts, and make the best decisions in the heat of the moment.

The Bradley birth method is a gentle guided meditation technique that focuses on relaxation and post-natal recovery; the overall goal is to minimize stress and maximize comfort during labor and birth. This is meant to cause the mother to produce hormones called oxytocin, which helps mamas deal with contraction pain. The three main principles of Bradley are breathing deeply, letting your partner massage your back and shoulders, and staying as calm as possible.

The Bradley method has been shown to automatically elicit a slower heart rate, and lower a mother’s blood pressure. These physiological changes help your baby to be more easily born once labor starts, and also have positive effects on a mama’s mental state during labor.

Lily + Llama Pre-Packed Hospital Bags Help Make Labor Easier

When it comes to the Lamaze vs. Bradley birthing methods, each has its benefits, so it can be very difficult to choose between the two. You have a lot else to think about as you approach your due date, too, including what to bring to the hospital with you once the big day arrives. What should you bring with you? What should you leave at home?

Not to worry, because Lily + Llama has made things much easier for you with pre-packed hospital bags that have everything you need for your stay. Lily + Llama’s pre-packed hospital bags help you simplify labor prep and focus on what really matters. To see what’s in these pre-packed bags and which size is right for you, visit Lily + Llama today!

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