Grantly Dick-Read Method of Childbirth

Grantly Dick-Read was an English physician born in Beccles, Norfolk , England in 1890. Dick-Read studied at Cambridge , and during his learning years at the London Hospital , he realized that there was something wrong with the extensive use of anesthetics after labor, during the intervention to deliver the baby.

This observation was decisive for his work, after his experience with birth assistance in the 1920s, when a woman asked for help so she could deliver her baby without the administration of chloroform, in order to see the birth consciously. Surprisingly, the birth ran without problems, and further investigation lead Dick-Read to publish the book "Childbirth Without Fear" in 1933 causing widespread controversy.

Dick-Read dedicated his life to promoting natural childbirth. After his move to South Africa in 1948, he continued teaching and practicing, and later conducted an extensive investigation on childbirth practices of African tribes, published in a new book in 1954 called "No Time for Fear". By then his teachings were introduced in the United States .

Although, Dick-Read died back home in England in 1959, many pregnant woman felt encouraged to use the Dick-Read Method of Childbirth, inspiring also other advocates of natural childbirth, and his teachings are even more relevant in the 21st century than when they were first published.

Based on Dick-Read's work, an increasing number of organizations and groups around the world began promoting natural childbirth and creating alternative methods. His principles are the foundation of the popular HypnoBirthing Childbirth Education Group, and the National Childbirth Trust in United Kingdom , although Hypnobirthing and the Grantly Dick-Read Method are taught in classes throughout the whole world.

After the recent reprint of “Childbirth Without Fear", in an unabridged edition that Dick-Read completed in the month of his death (June 1959), new important revelations have been found. Dick-Read explained that the possible root cause of western woman's fear and anxiety in pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, and his insights about women and the transformation of their bodies throughout pregnancy and birth.

Grantly Dick-Read Method of Childbirth is based on a series of prenatal classes to teach women that most of them are culturally conditioned to fear childbirth and other common issues during pregnancy. Those fears create tension and pain during labor, causing what Dr. Dick-Read called a fear-tension-pain syndrome.

Grantly Dick-Read Method classes focus on eliminating this fear through a combination of abdominal breathing control exercises, relaxation techniques and physical awareness, because Dick-Read was convinced that the best way for women to be relaxed is to be knowledgeable about what happens during labor and delivery.

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