Pregnancy comes with a variety of decisions; indeed naming your child may be the easiest one you have to make! In addition to deciding where to have your baby, you also should explore how to have your baby. And just like many other decisions, you have several different avenues to explore. It’s important to know yourself as well as to know the facts—doing so will allow you to select a childbirth technique that is right for you. Let’s take a look at four effective or natural childbirth techniques, and the pros and cons of each.
The McMoyler Method
This method is named after its creator, Sarah McMoyler, a nurse of over 20 years. She currently holds her RN, BSN, FACCE, and CLE certifications. She developed this method to help unprepared couples deal with the intensity of the labor and delivery process; its target audience is busy, professional parents who’d like to be thoroughly prepared for childbirth and bringing an infant home. If you’re interested in a partner-focused method, then exploring this technique will be worth your time. The McMoyler method is available in both book and DVD format, as well as through in-person courses.
The Lamaze Method
Of the four methods introduced here, you’re probably most familiar with Lamaze. This childbirth technique focuses on using breath to work with the body during contractions to both lessen their intensity and create more effective pushes. Lamaze International works to “promote, support and protect natural, safe and healthy birth through education and advocacy through the dedicated efforts of professional childbirth educators, providers and parents.”
The Bradley Method
This relatively new method focuses on husband-coached natural childbirth. It was designed using both evidenced-based and experienced-based research to help women achieve delivery via natural childbirth techniques. The Bradley Method is typically taught in small classes over a period of 12 weeks. Participants receive a 130 page workbook, complete with illustrations. Topics range from prenatal exercise to birth plans, but the overwhelming focus centers on a natural childbirth method that works. According to their website, “…over 1,000,000 couples trained in the The Bradley Method nationwide [and] over 86% of them have had spontaneous, unmedicated vaginal births.”
You’re probably aware of the benefits of hypnosis; many therapists believe in its ability to help individuals overcome addictions to smoking as well as reinforce good habits to achieve weight loss. However, it can also be used with great success during labor and delivery. Hypnobirthing, or the Mongan Method, is “designed to teach women to trust in Nature’s way of birth and to relax and let their bodies do what is needed. By practicing a few key natural childbirth techniques, mothers program their minds and condition their bodies to birth easily.” Don’t confuse hypnobirthing with the movie-depicted scenes where the fool is up on stage clucking like a chicken! This childbirth technique focuses on teaching expectant mothers how to compartmentalize pain, work through it, and truly enjoy the birthing experience—it will not magically make pain disappear. In addition to being taught by a certified instructor, Hypnobirthing classes include a 302-page workbook, 5 professionally-written scripts, 2 CDs to facilitate relaxation and bonding, as well as a variety of other materials.
Sometimes having so many choices can be overwhelming—but don’t worry! Plenty of information is available online to help you narrow down your choices. If you’re planning on a natural childbirth, any of these techniques (or a combination of them) can help you achieve this goal. However, the key to successfully implementing any of these techniques is practice—once you decide on a method, you and your partner should commit to practicing it each and every day.