What About Bradley?
Bradley birthing classes are an alternative to Lamaze, and there are some differences worth mentioning here. Generally, the Bradley series is more comprehensive than Lamaze. There are more classes and more material is covered such as breast-feeding. There is also a strong emphasis on natural childbirth, drug-free deliveries and the active participation of the partner. For the most part, we support this type of birth preparation class, but we have some concerns as well.
Our Concerns About Bradley
The obstetrician’s job is to use medical knowledge, training, skills and judgment to do everything possible to ensure the health and safety of you and your unborn child. At times, this may interfere with a planned natural or low-intervention childbirth. In any situation that poses a potential risk to either the patient or the unborn baby, we will always explain what the concern is and what we think should be done about it and we will make the decisions together. This is where a trusting doctor-patient relationship is very important.
Through experience, we have learned that Bradley classes promote what appears to be an anti-doctor and anti-hospital philosophy. Students are advised to be wary of what they are told by their medical caregivers, occasionally to the point of becoming adversarial. They are encouraged to refuse all manner of medical procedures and tests. The basic trust in the doctor-patient relationship can become damaged which interferes with our ability to provide the best medical care possible.
Students are often incorrectly told that we make medical decisions for our own convenience, rather than what is in the best interests of the patient. They may be told that interventions are routine and often unnecessary. This places the patient in an extremely difficult position. In the event of a problem, any problem, during labor, who is the patient and her spouse supposed to believe -- the obstetrician or the Bradley Instructor?