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A Quick Survey of Widely Practiced Childbirth Methods:
Bradley
Practitioners of the Bradley method believe that childbirth classes should start well before birth and continue into early infancy. 

The Bradley approach stresses the partner's involvement as a birthing coach and uses deep abdominal breathing techniques. It also focuses on the pregnant woman's laboring body rather than the panting and outside focal points of the Lamaze method. If you are interested in this technique, you can read, Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth, by Robert A. Bradley, MD.

Lamaze
This method, which emphasizes understanding, breathing and relaxation techniques to help the laboring woman, is probably the best known. Partners serve as coaches and help the expectant mothers condition themselves to respond to contractions by using specific breathing techniques adapted to each stage of labor. 

Some critics say that the Lamaze approach draws the focal point of the woman outside her labor, removing her too much from the experience of childbirth. If you are interested in this technique, you can read, Preparation for Birth: The Complete Guide to the Lamaze Method, by Beverly Savage, Diane Simkin, Diana Simkin

LeBoyer
This is not a method of childbirth preparation but an approach to birth that centers on the responses and needs of the baby. LeBoyer advocates dimly lit, quiet, warm birthing rooms to help ease the baby's transition from the uterus to the outside world. 

He also stresses the importance of placing the baby on the mother's abdomen after birth, waiting until the umbilical cord has stopped pulsing before it is cut, and giving the baby a warm, gentle bath after birth. Classes in this method are not taught, but if you are interested in this technique, you can read, Birth Without Violence by Frederick LeBoyer's, MD.

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