People often ask me, "What's the difference between The Bradley Method®and Lamaze?" Although there are similarities, there are some distinct differences.
All Bradley Method® instructors are certified through the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth. The Academy strongly discourages its instructors from teaching The Bradley Method® in hospitals. Working independently prevents Bradley® classes from being "filtered" by hospitals and/or doctors. Each student/couple receives an official student workbook, and instructors are given official outlines to each class. This maintains a certain information content and flow throughout the series of classes. Most Lamaze classes are taught in hospitals. Many of these classes are "filtered" until they are considered prepared childbirth classes (teaching couples what routine interventions to expect from the hospital) rather than the natural childbirth classes that most people expect. These classes may not reflect Lamaze's actual birth philosophy.
The Bradley Method® endorses and teaches avoidance of drugs during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding unless absolutely necessary - No drug has been proven to be entirely free of potential harm to the fetus. Lamaze classes do not advocate drug-free childbirth, and has stated: "Research continues to document the lack of benefit or harmful effect of many routine medical interventions.
The Bradley Method® endorses and teaches active participation of the husband as coach. Dr. Bradley says "The loving encouragement of a trained coach can do more for the comfort and relaxation of his wife than any amount of medication". Additional support from a midwife, doula, or assistant coach is encouraged. Lamaze encourages a doula to be used as the primary labor support while the husband and possibly family members provide additional support.
Over 86% of Bradley® moms having vaginal births do so without medication. Lamaze refuses to release its statistics. An independent study found that of 500 Lamaze prepared patients, only 1% (5 women) had an unmedicated childbirth.