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What's the difference between Lamaze, Bradley Method, and Hypnobirthing?

Updated: Mar 19, 2023

In the unmedicated birth or natural world, you hear the terms Lamaze method, Bradley Method, and Hypno-birthing thrown around a lot! But what’s the difference?

What is Lamaze Method?

Lamaze is one of the original methods. It’s what our mothers and grandmothers probably used to give birth. Lamaze has 6 points of focus. Trena Gallant, a Lamaze instructor explains,

Lamaze focuses on Six Healthy Birth Practices:

1. Let labor begin on its own
2. Walk, move around, and change positions throughout labor
3. Bring a loved one and/or doula for continuous support
4. Avoid interventions that aren’t medically necessary
5. Push in an upright position, following body’s natural urges
6. Keep mother and baby together, with unlimited opportunity for breastfeeding.

The Lamaze technique feels that these six practices are the best way to keep the labor and birth as safe as possible for mother and baby.

What is Bradley Method?

The Bradley birth method focuses on prenatal education to help parents feel confident in their natural birth. The ten class series focuses on educating the expecting mother and her ‘coach’ or partner about:

1. The importance of a healthy pregnancy from nutritional foods to exercises
2. The stages of labor and birth
3. Postpartum and newborn care
4. Breastfeeding

The highlight of the Bradley birthing method is the coach. The Bradley method is for women who have a strong support system through their partner. The partner is taught how to care for the birthing parent, switch positions for comfort, and be the voice of peace in the room. The ‘coach’ is usually the father of the baby, but the coach can also be a significant other, friend, or family member. The doula will be with the family through the birth, but position the partner to support.

What is Hypnobirthing Method?

Hypnobirthing can be the most confusing of the three because it uses it’s own unique terminology like “surges” for contractions and “affirmations” for positive sayings. The hypnobirthing technique is based around meditative birthing, and can vary depending on your doula’s ideals. It is not being “hypnotized” through your birth experience, but having methods to peacefully meditate within oneself. It focuses on:

1. Education
2. Breathing techniques
3. Visualization
4. Affirmations
5. Changing positions
6. Having birth support.

Comparing the three most used natural birth techniques, it’s easy to see they are almost identical. All use position changes, breathing techniques, prenatal education, and birth support. The question is, do you want a focus to be on your partner leading the support, you leading, or a team working together to support?

At Suncoast Doula, we don’t focus on one specific method. We like to use a mix of all three and individualize them to your specific needs and personality. In our childbirth education class, we will discuss all three methods. We’ll practice parts from all three and then we’ll take the ones that work for you and add them to your individualized birth plan. An example could be, I want my partner to lead (Bradley Method), I want affirmations said every time I feel like giving up (Hypno-birthing), I want no medical interventions unless necessary (Lamaze), and I want to change positions as much as possible (All three).

If you’d like to personalize a plan to fit your unmedicated birth, then we’re here for you! We can discuss all your options, educate, make a plan, and be there through your labor and birth.


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