The Charlotte Observer
Susan Trexler Myers knows all about birthing babies.
Myers, a mother of four, has been helping parents bring their babies into the world using the Bradley Method for almost 13 years. She’s taught 350 couples, including 50 last year. She also had all four of her children using the Bradley Method, taking the course with her husband, Wesley Myers, during her first and second pregnancy in 1996 and again in 1997.
Myers, who was referred to the Bradley Method by a co-worker even before she was pregnant, was very interested in having control over her birthing experience. She also said, “I felt like if women had been having babies for over hundreds of years without medical intervention and pain medication, then I should be able to do it too. This is what our bodies were designed to do.”
The Bradley Method named after its creator Robert A. Bradley, MD is an unmedicated, natural birthing process where the husband or laboring woman’s partner is primed to coach her through the mental, physical, and emotional stages of labor.
Myers, a 43-year-old Concord resident, said the associated 12-week course is geared to give couples time to learn about common medical practices, birth team planning, relaxation techniques, and pregnancy nutrition. Myers also said, “We focus more than others (other birthing methods/courses) on the stages of labor and how to deal with it, and how to be an educated consumer of medical practices.”
The Bradley Method is similar to Lamaze, according to Myers, as it is natural childbirth-oriented and she often refers clients to Lamaze when her class fills up. However, Bradley focuses more on introspective techniques; whereas, Lamaze is known for taking the laboring woman’s focal point outside of the body. For example, Myers said, Bradley focuses on learning to relax your muscles and to go with the flow during contractions, where Lamaze would have you focus on a photo, a spot on the wall, or anything outside of the body to concentrate on during contractions.
In order to teach the Bradley Method, the instructor has to become certified by taking teacher training through the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth, which includes continual education.
Myers became certified in 2000 and has been offering classes to expectant parents in the Charlotte area ever since. She teaches four 12-week courses a year near Concord Mills, off Pitts School Road.
Evelyn Keating, a former student of Myers’ who gave birth to Finn Keating at Presbyterian-Huntersville on October 9, 2011, said, “ The Bradley Birthing Method is all about husbands as coaches during labor and delivery, and so in classes the husbands/coaches learned different techniques to help relax their wives. During my 20-hour labor, my husband used many of those techniques, including massage.”
Jessica Stafford, also a former student of Myers’ and resident of Blakeney in South Charlotte said, “We wanted to be educated and as prepared as possible, so we’d know how to react and respond during labor. As a first time mom, I wanted to gain confidence in myself as a birther, and I wanted Adam (her husband) to be confident with himself as my support person, or childbirth coach.”
Jessica Stafford gave birth to Cameron Clare Stafford at CMC-Pineville on September 25, 2011.
Stafford said, “We had an almost perfect hospital birth and I attribute it to the knowledge and information we learned during the classes. If we hadn’t taken the classes, we may not have known all we do now, and I may have given in to the doctors and nurses when they suggested things to speed labor up; but instead, we were able to work through it naturally, and get the drug-free birth we wanted.”
Also discussing the course, Keating said, “The class was great and Susan was so knowledgeable and encouraging. Every week we left the class feeling more and more prepared … Susan is passionate about helping people have the best, healthiest birthing experience possible.”
Myers said, “I truly believe, barring complication, that any women can deliver without medication. We all have that innate strength and physiology.”