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Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth
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Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  1,372 ratings  ·  278 reviews
Now completely revised and updated for today's parents-to-be...

The book that started a revolution in the birthing experience and helped millions of women and their partners to a safe and natural childbirth.

The Bradley Method has changed the way men and women—and the medical establishment—think about childbirth today. Now this new, updated edition of the groundbreaking wor...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 1st 1996 by Bantam (first published 1974)
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Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May GaskinBirthing from Within by Pam EnglandSpiritual Midwifery by Ina May GaskinThe Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci GoerBaby Catcher by Peggy Vincent
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14th out of 20 books — 8 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,817)
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First let me say that I believe in the Bradley method as a practice for birthing babies. Erika and I took the course for our twins; it proved to be a wonderful experience, and excellent training for vaginal birth (at least we imagine it is since we are still waiting for our first vaginal birth. Fingers crossed for this pregnancy).

So I walked into my reading of Husband-Coached Childbirth as a member of the team. I didn't need to be convinced to play. I just wanted to brush up on my skills, pick u...more
Elizabeth Abney
I like the principles of the Bradley method, and this book does a decent job of explaining the basics, but I found many things off-putting. At times Bradley seemed a bit patronizing and the strict gender roles he describes don’t mesh well with 21st century America as I know it. Talk of God and the “lower mammals” may also be irritating to some. There is a 5th edition out now that hopefully addresses some of these issues. My biggest complaint, however, is that the book doesn’t present the entire...more
I'm not sure what to say about this book. The actual child birth method is good. I am going to use it with this child. However, in my opinion, Dr. Bradley is kind of a nutter who is out of touch with reality, and has unreal views and expectations of people. For example, he states that if you use his method your will be pleasant and happy throughout your pregnancy. I don't care who you are and how amazing your method is...I am a cranky, hormonal pregnant woman, and there is nothing you can do to...more
I am thankful for the practical information that this book imparted (I read the 3rd edition), giving me confidence that I can in fact tackle the upcoming task of delivering my next baby without medication, but that it it my responsibility to be educated about the process, and that my husband can and should have a more active role than he did during the hospital birth of my first son. I understand why people said that he was sexist and old-fashioned, but not only was this book written 30 years an...more
NOTE: Definitely read the revised 5th edition (instead of the previous 4th and 3rd), as from what I can see in other reviews the older editions are even more antiquated in overall approach than this one.

THAT SAID, in spite of Dr. Bradley's somewhat old-fashioned approach to male-female relations, this book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in unmedicated, natural, holistic childbirth (and pregnancy). Dr. Robert Bradley, pioneer of husband-coached childbirth and proponent of the presen...more
This book was full of very interesting and helpful information - hence the 4 star rating. However, that might be a bit high, because other things about the book really bothered me. He is so antagonistic toward those who use/advocate medication of any kind during pregnancy, and even implies that mothers who use medication during their labor and delivery haven't earned the title of mother! Blah, blah, blah. I've had three babies and used medication every time, and two of the three were fantastic e...more
I read this as a companion to our Bradley classes. Althought there is a lot of helpful information, the arrogant and fairly offensive way Bradley writes was frustrating. Between his comments about hospital nurseries as "concentration camps" and that only those that arrive via natural birth can have real BIRTH-days as opposed to "delivery days", I began to discount the rest of his arguments.

A good editor would have gone a long way to making this a respectable resource.
A day of school cancelled due to fog and freezing and what do I do? Start on my Bradley training... Snow Days sure aren't were they were 9 years ago...


Well, let's see... how to rate/review this thing... As a method, the philosophy makes sense, the advice it has for assisting fathers is good, helpful, and there are tons of great little tidbits throughout, though mostly for the mother: nutrition, exercises, things to expect, hin...more
I basically skimmed this book, only really reading the chapters that interested me (the actual Bradley method during labor and birth). Dr. Bradley cracks me up! I realize his study of childbirth and the resulting methods were revolutionary for his time, but reading the book now he comes across as an old-fashioned, arrogant, nut-job. It drove me crazy that he wrote the book with the husband as his audience. So instead of giving helpful instructions to the woman who is actually birthing the offspr...more
Steve Blanchette
This book is littered with religious ideology and read like a self help book. After getting through the endless preaching and self aggrandizing about how great he is and how many practices he started you can find some good info in here. Once you get to the part about labor I was able to learn some useful tidbits to help my wife during the labor process. Most of the tips are standard practice at our hospital (or any good modern hospital) so I need not be concerns with them. I am glad Dr. Bradley...more
Nat Hansuvadha
Aug 19, 2008 Nat Hansuvadha rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: moms considering natural childbirth
This book was amusing to read and provides historical context regarding husbands as co-equal partners in the labor and delivery of their babies. Author, Dr. Bradley, described fathers being arrested in the 1970's when they persisted on supporting their wives in the delivery room. Unheard of nowadays. The core beliefs of women having natural childbirth are important to understand in today's push for drugs and c-sections. However, I recommend reading a newer text with updated medical research, whi...more
Our birth plan is simple - there is no plan. Our doctors prefer to make game time decisions and honestly, so do I in this case. But I am still hesitant about epidurals for a wide variety of reasons and wanted to explore what my alternative pain methods were. One of the doctors mentioned reading up on the Bradley Method, when I mentioned that Ina wasn't doing it for me.

I liked the practical nature of this, even though some of the early tone felt antiquated. I suppose we take husbands/partners in...more
Ashley Lauren
Great method, horribly written
Please understand that my rating, above, is not a rating of the Bradley Method, just a rating of the book. I appreciated the information about the childbirth experience and how to prepare for it. I also appreciate the emphasis Bradley (and co.) place on the husband and wife being a team as they go through pregnancy, labor, and birth. However, the way the book is written is not effective. I'm not sure how much of that is due to Bradley's own style in the original text and how much is due to poorl...more
We are having a baby in June, and are taking Bradley childbirth classes, so I wanted to read more information by Dr. Bradley. We have really been enjoying the classes, so I was prepared to really like the book as well...

However, I was really not impressed with this book. It was extremely repetitive; some entire chapters seemed to just be other chapters rephrased. For example, there were at least three different chapters in which the Bradley class exercises and their benefits were described and s...more
Mar 01, 2011 Annie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: baby
Anyone who is remotely interested in a granola-style birth will doubtless hear "The Bradley Method" sung from the mouths of mothers everywhere. Before reading the book, I was pretty convinced that I was going to have Bradley baby (natural childbirth a euphoric experience? ok!).

Oh my. Then I read Dr. Bradley's book. Poor soul, I am pretty sure that if I had met this man and/or he was my OBGYN, I would just love him to death and find him totally adorable. As is, however, he is hopelessly (and unin...more
Haley J.
I wish my library carried the most current edition of "Husband Coached Childbirth," because my impression of it based on the 4th was that the book is badly in need of revision and editing. I read this book because it was recommended literature for the Bradley method childbirth class my husband and I are taking. However, if I were undecided about pursuing natural childbirth, this book would not have done much to convince me that I should consider it. My issues with the book are manifold. Initiall...more
Bradley is one of the Big Names in natural childbirth. I'm glad I read this book, but I have to admit I have liked others better and found them more useful. If you're going to read a ton of birth books like I did, include this one, but if you're looking for one book that's functional and concise chose elsewhere.

This has the basic outline of phases of labor and other basic information that most childbirth books include, as well as explanations of his philosophy and specific ideas, as well as few...more
Author's Note (written after the fact): I think my frustration at some people/meetings at work spilled over into this review, so please take my negative comments with a grain of salt

I think this is the most practical of the childbirth books I've read thus far. It's written to the husband/coach, so it's got a different feel from most childbirth books. He goes into a lot of detail about exactly what you should and shouldn't do (and sometimes even a schedule to follow) to prepare for childbirth, an...more
I'm not impressed. I'm preparing for a VBAC for baby #2 and was hoping for teaching in regards to how to relax your body, etc. This book was written in the 60's, with probably a few updates since then, but I felt like a lot of the "advice" was really outdated. My mom had 8 natural childbirths, and I doubt she would describe any of them as "fun." I also didn't like several of his comments about how nonmedical birth babies are more intelligent, etc (I'd love to see him look at my two year old Csec...more
I agree with the other reviewers that the most (and only?) useful chapters are the ones on the stages of labor and what strategies to use throughout labor. The rest of the book- I could do without. Bradley recommends all the basics, like eating well and avoiding drugs, but constantly writes from the viewpoint that the husband must force his silly wife to follow the rules that he sets forth.
Bradley's ideas about letting the uterus fall away from you on a regular basis ("tail-wagging") interest m...more
This was enjoyable to read. There are *some* bones I could pick with it. Clearly the author is not keen on homebirth. Boo.

Also, he can't seem to resolve in his head whether a Creator made us human souls or we are just human animals in the evolutionary chain. One or the other, but seriously, make up your mind and be consistent.

Oh, and my husband is not a bad cook just because he is a man. In fact, he is quite good.

Those things aside, however, I did really find it a fun read. He has a dry sense of...more
Took out of the library because Bradley method has been recommended by friends, I want to learn more, but don't have the time or money for the 12-week class! We shall see.

OK, updates. I liked this book's description of natural childbirth, enough to convince me that that is the way to go. He made childbirth sound super-easy -- which I'm still highly skeptical of, and besides, being a man, he will never know what it's like, now will he?

I have two complaints about this book. First, the easy-breezy...more
Feb 07, 2011 Colette rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any pregnant woman and her birth partner
Shelves: 2011, baby, health, nonfiction
I like this book for the information it has, and the reminder it was for me and my husband (we took the class series a year and a half ago), and I will say this edition is better than the last. However, I still feel like it could be better organized. There are several chapters in which the same anecdotes or studies are referenced (although this is probably for those who read only selected chapters). In some places the headings don't match the text very well, or not at all. It seems like they jus...more
Too much self-promotion of Bradley method and classes (this really grates), alongside some good info.
Breezy, simple read.
Many sections can be skimmed.

Much of it is a little too touchy-feely and contradictory to me.
For instance, the book rails against unnecessary medical interventions promoted in the the name of erring on the side of safety of baby and mother despite limited or inconclusive information (a driving factor for soaring American caesarian rates of ~30%; and routine EMF); but this is t...more
Kari Shepherd
The Bradley Method is a natural childbirth method that focuses on few (if any) medical interventions, and prepares the father to be the labor coach. This is why we are using this method and I like about 85% of what is taught.

However, the book annoyed me for a couple of reasons. First, Dr. Bradley is very old fashioned, and writes in a colloquial manner that gets on my nerves. The book has been semi-updated to keep up with medical discoveries; however I still disagreed with a few of his points,...more
This review is of the 5th Edition. I've read reviews of earlier editions on this site and would not recommend any others, but 5th Ed gets 4 stars from me.


Probably my favorite of the childbirth books I've read so far. I was initially reluctant to read it, as my feminist soul cringed at the thought of "husband-coaching," but Dr Bradley provides an entire chapter explaining why he chose to use the word "husband" instead of "partner" (plus, the book was recommended to my husband and me by on...more
Craig Kapitan
This guy ranges from mildly cooky (an insistence on including the trademark symbol EVERY time in the book he mentions "The Bradley Method," which is a lot) to outright quacky ("Interspecies communication is not only possible but is probable in the near future.") (citing "an article in a popular magazine" as proof that babies are telepathic and citing a Disney movie--and not even a good one--as evidence babies are born with clairvoyance) ("Direct your subconscious mind to resist colds" before you...more
Nov 12, 2013 Megan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any pregnant woman
Recommended to Megan by: My mom, Bradley instructor
I read this book because my Bradley instructor and my mom kept bugging me to do it. At first I rolled my eyes every other paragraph or so, trying desperately to keep in mind that it was written during a different time, when feminism still had a long way to go. However, after a few chapters, I warmed up to him a little, enough to actually read what he had written. I was surprised to realize the validity of his information while taking the Bradley birth classes. It sort if tied it all together for...more
Outdated and intended as an accompaniment to Bradley Method classes

Although the fifth edition of this book was updated and expanded in 2008, this book still reads as though Bradley first wrote it in 1965. Bradley may have been a pioneer in his time in advocating the active participation of the partner during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, but the information and the tone of the book are now antiquated. For example, it still assumes that the partner has to fight for the right to be in the labor...more
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Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way

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“God schedules a birthday, not man.” 16 likes
“We repeatedly tell patients we are not in a hurry; there are no trains to catch and we don't care when the baby comes, only how! A doctor who is in a hurry does not belong in the field of obstetrics. As my chief pointed out, 'An obstetrician should have a big rear end and the good sense to sit calmly thereupon and let nature take its course.” 3 likes
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