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246 of 250 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2000
I read about the Bradley Method of Natural childbirth during my early months of pregnancy, was intrigued, and bought this book. I really found it helpful-- I got my husband to read it too. While the book's complete lack of pictures tended to be frustrating at times, especially in the exercise section, I found that having to read the actual description made me pay more attention and helped me remember what to do. After I read and understood the description, I wasn't dependent on the picture to do it right. The breathing description Dr. Bradley gives is the best thing I did during my labor -- before going into labor I found it also helps with headaches :) -- and they did not teach it in my Bradley class. After finishing Husband Coached Childbirth, I ended up wanting a book with pictures, and bought Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way as well. Between these two books I had a very pleasant birth experience with no pain medications. And after reading them, the Bradley classes themselves were overkill.
I did like Husband Coached Childbirth quite a bit and got a lot of information from it, however, I do not think you need to own it. After reading it through once, I never felt compelled to go back and read it again. I would suggest checking this one out from your local library, reading it through, especially the breathing description, and purchasing Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way instead.
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168 of 174 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2006
...who said that it's like taking your lower lip, stretching it over your head, and stapling it to the back of your neck, then you're thinking, like most women,
"Why on EARTH would I want a natural childbirth?"

Well, I've done it both ways now. After years of hearing horror stories from friends & Hollywood, but stubbornly deciding that since women had been doing it for eons, I could, too, I tried birth naturally with my first child, scared to death about it ... and failed miserably. I didn't know any alternative laboring positions, or to relax, or anything - I just braced for each contraction for 36 hours until I hurt so much I asked my husband to kill me. The inevitable epidural left me hurting for a week.

Well, wasn't that fun?

Then I took a Bradley class. Instead of teaching fancy breathing techniques and how to be a convenient patient for the OB, they taught relaxation - "You CAN do this; and fear only creates tension, which increases pain" - and what a difference. Without me fighting the contractions (which tensed up the very muscle the contractions were trying to relax), the pain went from unbearable to manageable. Sure, it hurts to have a lineman stand on your foot, but who's going to take an epidural for it?

Bradley taught me that if you're thoroughly relaxed and labor feels excruciating, something needs to change - position, environment, something. If it's still agonizing, something is dreadfully wrong - but if I were under an epidural, I wouldn't know that. Bradley taught that if you've been doing everything great for hours and suddenly you feel you can't take it anymore - that you're in transition and will soon be pushing and have a baby! (How true that has been!) The relaxation techniques I learned helped with the early labor (remember, you can't get an epidural before 4cm or after 10cm), the excruciating afterpains of a subsequent birth, and the discomfort of sitting on a sore bum, not to mention all of life's inevitable pains ever since.

Natural childbirth left me with so much more energy afterward that my 60-something in-laws are converts, too! They can't believe that the totally drained, beaten woman they saw after Birth #1 (who was afraid to use the bathroom and couldn't sit for a week) is the same who walked from the delivery room and immediately dressed and left at 24 hours for Births #2 and #3 (and suffered very little postpartum pain after the uterine-shrinking contractions ended).

Lastly, Bradley taught me better breathing (my trumpet-playing is vastly improved!), sitting, posture, and lifting techniques for the rest of my life. And gave me a few good laughs while he was at it. Love him!
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115 of 129 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2000
I had a drug-free childbirth, thanks in part to the Bradley Method. To prepare, I took Bradley classes and read both "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" by Susan McCutcheon and this book. The thing that disturbed me most about this book is that Dr. Bradley insinuates repeatedly that childbirth doesn't really hurt as long as you follow his instructions. Believe me, it hurts. I think Dr. Bradley has since passed away, but if he were alive, I'd really like to ask him how many times HE gave birth. I prefer to get my information from a more reliable source -- a woman who has given birth herself. If you're only going to read one book, read "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way." If you're an information junkie like myself, read this one too. There's certainly a lot of info and it makes for interesting reading.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2003
My husband and I read this book, among others, as part of a Bradley natural childbirth class. I have to agree with previous reviews that I found the information to be dated- particularly the hospital horrors he describes are simply no longer existant in our community. And his take on painless childbirth didn't work for us. I did go completely natural, it did hurt, but I don't regret it and will do the same for the next one. I was a little put off by the way he makes it sounds like he invented the idea of drug-free childbirth. There are other books that I felt better informed me of what to expect and what choices I would need to make- "The Birth Partner", "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way", "Active Birth : The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally", or "Good Birth, Safe Birth". Good luck to all of you wanting to go natural- it's a beautiful experience!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2006
My husband and I are now big believers in natural childbirth the Bradley way. My son is 8 months old, delivered completely naturally, and I am 4 weeks pregnant with our next child, who we also plan to deliver without drugs.

This book gave us confidence in our decision to deliver without drugs when all our friends were telling us, "You must be crazy!" Resting assured that for thousands of years, millions of women had gone before me and done the same thing, Dr. Bradley puts natural childbirth into perspective. Seriously, it does not take a super-woman to give birth without an epidural. If I can do it, any other woman can as well.

This book discusses WHY and SOME of the hows to giving birth naturally. YOU WILL NEED TO TAKE THE BRADLEY CLASSES ALONG WITH READING THIS BOOK. I did not know we would need to take a 13-week course on birth before I read it. "Husband-Coached Childbirth" is NOT a complete directive on how to give birth without drugs, it simply motivates you to do it. The class is designed to instruct you; the book is designed to motivate you. It really does have helpful information in it.

We encourage all our friends to read it and consider natural childbirth. It really did give us a "push" in the right direction. :)
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2001
Dr. Bradley revolutionized American childbirth when he began, in the 1940's, insisting that husbands coach their wives during childbirth. This was when fathers were relegated to the waiting room, and childbirth was treated like a disease that the good doctors "cured".
Bradley examined the situation for himself, and realized that it was preposterous for childbirth to be handled the way it was. And a good thing for us that he did this!
In this book he explains his research, and his experiences as a doctor. He also gives the practical information that expectant fathers need, and he advocates such wonderful things as breastfeeding and "taking your wife out once a week for a date!"
Some women today might find him to be a bit "patriarchal", but I think he's charming, and he's obviously got a lot of respect for women and the natural processes of the female body. He does tell the husbands to make sure they get their wives to do certain things, but I think it's great that he expects husbands to take so much responsibility! In those days, childbirth and pregnancy were not in the "man's domain" at all.
He also advocates drug-free childbirth as being the safest route for mother and baby. He gives a method of childbirth that helps ease the pain, and I advise pregnant women to read this section carefully, and do the exercises! It really does help!
I recommend this book to anyone who is expecting, or plans to be expecting, a baby. As an advocate of natural childbirth, I give this book 2 thumbs up!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2000
This and all the books written by Dr. Bradley has made labor FUN for me. I love being in labor. It is a wonderful refreshing way of envisioning labor. I had one child in the hospital (horrible experience). I NEVER would want to have a happy in the hospital! The other two at home with the siblings watching and good friends and family watching nearby (midwives and assistants too). Those were the most wonderful moments of my life. I can't imagine giving birth any other way. My son who was age 3yrs at the time of the youngest birth still remembers it this day. My kids have a wonderful relationship and understands where they came from and how they are related. I often feel terrible when I hear of other people's awful "hospital, overintervention, stressful and painful labor situations" because I have experienced both and know how wonderful it is to have a beautiful labor. What helped me most about Dr. Bradley and books are the visualizations of the flower opening during labor (representing your cervix) and riding the waves out (representing the contractions). There are no silly breathing techniques for each stage of labor (who on earth can really remember those while you are in the middle of labor-much less listen to person screaming at you to breath this way or that). This book and all of Bradley books are must haves for all expecting parents! Even if you chose to go the hospital route or the medicated route Bradley can still help you through the process.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2000
This was Dr. Bradley's original work on natural childbirth. This visionary OB helped women to reclaim the natural, joyous method of birthing for which their bodies had been designed. I read it and immediately sought out a Bradley instructor to learn the method. My daughter was subsequently born after a short, relatively painless labor (hard work, but no "pain"), with dad coaching. :)
I found it less helpful in describing the mechanics of the birth (for that, see "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way"), but it was a very good overview and one which I recommend for folks who have heard of Bradley but are unfamiliar with the method.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2005
This book is a good start on natural childbirth. It gives a lot of reassurance, in case you're not sure if you can manage drug-free labor (most books about childbirth tend to be quite scary). I personally found the first few chapters very useful. The theory behind this method is quite reasonable, and the author goes at length explainig why he believes that the things he teaches should work, which I really appreciate. It is much easier to learn something when you understand why it is expected to work. Lamaze books rarely give you any reasoning behind their techniques. My advice is to also use Susan McCutcheon's "Natiral childbirth the Bradley way" and "The birth book" by Sears. Husband-coached childbirth is not a practical guide, it is more of an overview of the general principles and the theory behind the Bradley method. Although it is important to read it to understand why the method works, Susan McCutcheon's book is a practical course in preparing for labor. Sears's book contains a more up-to-date info on the state of the art in american obstetrics.

I rather liked this book in general, but it has some flaws that it is good to be aware of. Most importantly, I found that the list of four references on baby-care suggested in chapter 11 is not enough. For example, Dr.Mendelson's book was written more than 20 years ago and is a bit outdated. Chapter about vaccines in it will not clear your confusion or help you make an informed decision. It doesn't even contain all the childhood deseases that kids are currently vaccinated against. Dr.Bradley sais: "consult your doctor, midwife or pediatrician about anything that" is "not cleared up by advice in these books". Well, type "vaccine" in amazon's search engine - you'll find about 20 books on vaccines that talk about things which will make your hair stand on end. But your pediatrician will most likely not tell you about any of these things even if you ask.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2003
I am the mother of seven children. Four were hospital births, one a breech c-section. Two homebirths and a planned hospital birth for the little one I am currently carrying.
When I told my husband I was thinking of looking into the Bradley Method of childbirth, I think he thought I had lost my mind. After all, a woman who has had six children should be able to WRITE a book! But even with my homebirths I was searching for something that had been missing in my past births.
On recommendations from readers at this site, I bought McCutcheon's book instead of Bradleys. Later, a friend lent me her copy of Bradley's book. I enjoyed Bradley's book so much more! I believe McCutcheon adds to what Bradley says in this text and personally, we like the commentary *without* all the nude pictures!
If you are interested in a better birth experience, try Bradley's methods, and go to the source!
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