to the editor: I read with interest the excellent article1 on nonpharmacologic pain relief in labor in the September 15, 2003, issue of American Family Physician. The authors are to be applauded for describing drug-free methods of labor pain relief, especially in an era when the use of epidurals is widespread.
I would like to point out the Bradley method of husband-coached natural childbirth (http://www.bradleybirth.com). Described by Robert Bradley, M.D., an American obstetrician, the Bradley method supports non-pharmacologic labor pain relief through extensive prenatal patient education.2 Bradley prenatal classes provide couples with prenatal exercises, training in deep abdominal breathing, husband-coaching techniques of pain management, stress reduction methods, and labor management techniques.
I am happy to report that my 41-year-old primigravida wife recently delivered a beautiful, healthy, full-term 6 lb, 4 oz baby girl without any pharmacologic intervention using the Bradley natural childbirth method. It is noteworthy that I was never informed of this helpful childbirth method during any of my formal family practice residency training. Rather, my wife learned of the Bradley method in a college class on developmental psychology. Family physicians and obstetricians need to be aware of this useful method of natural childbirth.