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Etymology: Grantley Dick-Read, English obstetrician, 1890-1959
a method of psychophysical preparation for childbirth. It was the first "natural childbirth" program, a term coined by Dr. Read in the 1930s. Basically Read held that childbirth is a normal, physiological procedure and that the pain of labor and delivery is of psychological origin-the fear-tension-pain syndrome. He countered women's fears with education about the physiological process, encouraged a positive welcoming attitude, corrected false information, and led tours of the hospital. To decrease tension he developed a series of breathing exercises for use during the various stages of labor. To foster relaxation and optimal physical function in labor and recovery after delivery, he incorporated a series of physical exercises to be performed regularly in classes and in practice at home during pregnancy. The woman is helped to manage labor and delivery by using the Read method in the following way: During the early and middle first stage of labor, before cervical dilation has reached 7 cm, contractions are 2 to 5 minutes apart and last for 30 to 40 seconds. The mother lies on her back with her knees bent. Abdominal breathing is used during contractions. Her hands are placed over her lower abdomen, fingers touching. She breathes deeply and slowly-in through her nose and out through her mouth. The abdominal wall rises with each inhalation, which she can feel with her hands. The rate of breathing is no more than 6 breaths in 30 seconds, or 12 to 18 in one contraction. During the late part of the first stage of labor, after 7 cm of cervical dilation, the contractions are 1½ to 2 minutes apart and last for 40 to 60 seconds. Costal or diaphragmatic breathing is used during contractions. The mother's hands are placed on her sides, over the ribs. She breathes in more shallowly, feeling her ribs move sideways against her hands. Each breath is drawn in through her nose and exhaled through her mouth. The abdominal wall does not rise and fall with this kind of breathing. The rate of breathing is no more than 6 breaths in 30 seconds, or 12 to 18 in one contraction. At the end of the first stage of labor, near full dilation, contractions may be very strong, occurring every 1½ to 2 minutes and lasting 60 to 90 seconds. The mother lies on her back with her knees bent. Panting respirations are used during the contractions. The mother holds one of her hands on her sternum, which rises and falls as she pants lightly and rapidly through her mouth. Panting continues through the end of the first stage to full dilation as the urge to push grows. Panting helps the woman avoid pushing. During the second, or expulsive, stage of labor after full dilation of the cervix, the contractions occur every 1½ to 2 minutes, last 60 to 90 seconds, and are accompanied by an urge to bear down and push. The woman lies back, head and shoulders supported in a semisitting position. She is helped to draw her legs up and hold them, with her hands behind the lower thighs and thighs on her abdomen, spread apart. As each contraction begins, she raises her head, takes a deep breath, tucks her chin on her chest, blocks the escape of air from her lungs, and bears down. During each contraction she may need to blow the air out, refill her lungs, and push again two or three times. Throughout labor she is helped to understand what is occurring and to participate and accept the experience in anticipation of the birth of the baby. Currently many authorities who advocate use of other aspects of the Read method strongly recommend that a woman in labor not lie on her back. Supine hypotension is frequently the result of this position, because the uterus can fall back, occluding the vena cava and decreasing the volume of blood returned to the heart, thus reducing the volume of the cardiac output. Maternal hypotension follows, resulting in decreased placental perfusion and an inadequate supply of oxygen to the fetus. Today the woman using the Read method spends most of labor lying on her side or in a semisitting position with her knees, back, and head well supported. Compare Bradley method, Lamaze method.
[Grantley Dick-Read, Brit. physician, 1890–1959]
The original psychoprophylactic method of prepared childbirth, based on the premise that fear causes tension, which generates or increases pain during labor. Women are taught to control the response to each uterine contraction with slow abdominal breathing. Each breath is evenly divided between inhalation and exhalation.
Dick-Read,Grantley, English physician, 1890-1959.
Read method - psychoprophylactic method of prepared childbirth.