The Dick-Read School for

Natural Childbirth

Evolving since 1913



A Short Introduction to REAL Natural Childbirth (RNC) and

The Four (Natural Childbirth) Questions (4KQs)




Dr Leigh Dick-Read

PhD (Southern Cross University – Natural Childbirth)

M App Sci (University of Western Sydney – Social Ecology)

BA (Adelaide – Psychology-Anthropology double major)

Grandfather of two natural-born girls.

+61 (0) 422 56 1214


Society IS as Society Births!


September 2015

This school is both a school of thought and an active instrument of change. It exists to honour the life, the work, the courage and the memory of Dr Grantly Dick-Read MD, 1890 to 1959, Natural Childbirth pioneer, Jessica Dick-Read, 1912 to 1998, the first Natural Childbirth teacher and teacher of teachers and countless others worldwide who continually give their lives to help us all to rid childbirth, and therefore life, of far too much unnecessary and avoidable pain and harm.


The avowed aim of this School is to help all women to get the facts and take back the total and competent control of all childbirth, especially their own, with absolutely no unnecessary and avoidable interference and for all men to get the fact and be competently able to ensure that all women are totally free to do so.


The work of this School is – and it can only be – totally transparent and demonstrably evidence based.


RNC and the 4KQs


REAL Natural Childbirth (RNC) is having babies as Nature intends, according to Nature’s design.


Research and the, usually ignored, stories of countless women worldwide are constantly telling us that REAL Natural Childbirth (RNC) is safe, healthy and joyful throughout and that it is largely, often entirely, free of pain bleeding, tearing and many often experienced birth-related problems.


Childbirth affects us all for life, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and, whatever our personal philosophies, spiritually.

For more than 1500 years we have been increasingly interfering with the natural flow of childbirth.

Ignorance of the facts, fear of the unknown or what is wrongly believed to be real, and, too often, a grotesque fear-driven arrogance, are the cause of most birth problems.

The price we are often paying is very high.

When we all get the facts birth will be far, far better and we will find ourselves automatically teaching our children the facts about life, and therefore life, from infancy.

This booklet is an introduction to the 4KQs

1.      What is REAL Natural Childbirth (RNC) and how do we know?

2.      What went wrong, when and why and why does it continue to be wrong?

3.      What can we do together to get birth right?

4.      What are the lifelong benefits of doing all that is possible to achieve and to support the achievement of RNC?

During consultations and workshops the 4KQs are asked and answered in ways deliberately designed to stimulate action-directed discussion.


What is RNC and how do we know?

RNC is having babies as Nature intends, according to Nature’s design.

Research and the, usually ignored, stories of countless women worldwide and our knowledge of wild, un-bred non-domestic animals is continually telling us that RNC has been designed, through evolution’s trials and errors, by Mother Nature to be sane, safe, healthy, joyful throughout and largely, often entirely, free of pain, bleeding, tearing or any need for medical help almost every time without medical help (Dick-Read G, 2004).

RNC is Fear-Free because accurate knowledge minimises and usually eliminates all need for fear even when there are actual or potential risks of problems – because we know what we are doing!

If we are to bypass and avoid unnatural childbirth and ensure the best of specialist care when it is genuinely needed it is birth-support professionals who must, wherever they can, find ways of helping birthing mothers and the people close to them.


What went wrong, when and why and why does it continue to be wrong?

We know that there have been challenges to the achievement of RNC from ancient, probably prehistoric, times (Haggard, 1929).

In 476 AD Rome fell to invaders and the so called Dark Age in Western Europe began.

For 500 years everyone from the most powerful to the most vulnerable lived in fear of rape, torture, enslavement or murder. The Dark Age forms approximately the first half of what we now call the Middle Ages. Having babies while birthing mothers and those close to them are afraid ensures that mothers will be tense and unrelieved tension hurts. Birth will probably be painful and much harm can occur (Dick-Read, G, 2004).

When the worst aspects of the Dark Age begun to decrease a sense of mutual respect, even for women, begun to emerge along with the rudiments of a collective striving for some kind of Law and Order.

However, during the 16th century the powerful patriarchs of the (then Roman) church decreed that because wicked Eve had seduced poor innocent Adam with that apple, that ALL women must suffer pain when their babies are being born. Genesis 3.16 is known as the Curse of Eve.

Sometimes the word sorrows is used and, when it does not imply physical pain, it more accurately reflects the original writer’s intent. Where it refers to pain it, along with at last six other places in the Christian Bible, has been grossly mistranslated (Dick-Read G 2004, pages 88 to 99, Dick-Read L, 2007, page 190).

Why is it that so many competent scholars and others have not seen fit to correct these errors?

Thanks to the almost total planetary dominance of Western European culture and social structures Biblical these mistranslations influence the thinking, the beliefs and the medical training of us all worldwide whether we are Christians or not.

By the end of the Middle Ages birth had become a horrible and dangerous experience. It remained so for centuries.

Then, in the middle of the nineteenth century Dr Sir James Young Simpson introduced chloroform to ease pain in childbirth.

In 1874 Dr Robert Barnes noted the relationship between the emotional state of birthing mothers and the quality of their birthing experience.

In 1990 my stepfather, Dr Grantly Dick-Read, was born. He showed how the Fear-Tension-Pain Syndrome (FTP) caused most pain and harm women experienced during childbirth. He helped mothers to minimise fear though education.

It worked … to the delight of many and the anger of others less honourable!


What can we do together to get birth right?

What actions we each can take to prepare for and to prepare to support RNC are covered later. However we need to work with in our communities to provide the education the support to enable RNC to become a real option for all birthing mothers and the people close to them.

So …


Ø  We must get the facts.

Ø  We must spread the word.

Ø  We must encourage everyone to get the facts and check what they learn independently so that we can all apply what we learn.

Ø  We must protect each other, whoever we are, from arrogant and powerful people who are doing all they can to force us to birth in ways and places that do us harm.

Ø  We must bypass the Worldwide Obstetric Industrial Complex (WOIC) as best we can and liberate our most competent and trustworthy birth-support practitioners of all kinds from the dictates WOIC.

Ø  We must work totally transparently and all we do must be completely and genuinely evidence based to ensure ever better outcomes as we learn and re learn ever better the facts.

Ø  We must form local Natural Childbirth Support and Protection Groups. I call these Maternity Militias because Militias are designed to defend their communities from external threats.

Ø  Maternity Militias can teach, support, do citizen and academic research, network worldwide and keep records.

Ø  No one can do this alone. We must get together.

Ø  This work requires courage, total honesty, self-respect, self-possession and self-confidence, a dogged determination and a darn good sense of humour in the face of sometimes awful things if we want to stay sane.


RESULTS are our only proof of rightness – our only excuse for doing this work! The results we get are the product of how we prepare to get them!





What are the lifelong benefits of doing all that is possible to achieve and to support the achievement of RNC?

In order for us all to be able to achieve and to support the achievement of RNC we must get the facts and develop a way of thinking and acting that is biocompatible – accords with Natures Reality … which is Truth. This is the RNC Mindset.

We must learn how we have humans been designed to have and to support the having of our babies through pregnancy, childbirth and infant nurturing.

Our first step is to break the FTP. To do this we must all learn to relax … properly. This reduces our physical and mental tension. It is easy to think clearly when we are relaxed and as our pain and our hurt get less we become less afraid of both the unknown and of things we do know – and these we become better able to deal with.

When we are relaxes … are self-possessed and ‘cool’, we find checking out the accuracy of what we are told and what we read. In this age of digitalisation it is also necessary to check the reality of what we see … however good or bad!

This checking is what enables to get the REAL facts.

To prepare for childbirth – our own or anyone else’s, we need to know how we can prepare for childbirth and infant nurturing ... and, eventually child rearing.

This can seem daunting. In fact what we need to know to achieve and to support the achievement of RNC is not complicated.

What we all, women and men, need to know is knowledge we can pass on to our children – ideally from infancy. The same knowledge enables us all to know how to look for and recognise the very best, the most skilled and the most trustworthy, of our birth-support practitioner when we want and need their specialist help and their willingness to work with us all as Equal Partners.

It is now time for all women to get the facts and to take back the camlet and total control of all childbirth - especially their own!

It is now time for all men to get the facts so that they can protect all birthing places to ensure that all healthy birthing mothers who know what they are doing can have their babies how and where each woman wishes with absolutely no invited, unwelcome and unnecessary interference.

The last place any healthy woman who knows what she is doing should have a baby in exposed to hospital infections – both microbial and attitudinal!

In order to develop the RNC Mindset we must become Attitudinally Competent. This means constantly seeking to the exclusion of all else to discover Nature’s Reality … Truth as best we can. We put aside false beliefs about the way we think Nature is. The better we grasp Nature’s Reality the better we can use what we learn to get what we want.

Attitudinal Competence gives the knowledge we need to be Autonomously Proactive – to be able to prepare ahead to achieve the outcomes we want as best as is possible.

We can learn to convert the FTP into the Consciousness-Sensitive-Tone Cycle and to create the Life Balance Model  and these are things you can read about in in MODELING, later. You can also get an insight into the Cosmological Cycle and the Rational-Intuitive. These are things trainee Natural Childbirth Mentors can learn and apply when they teach others how to achieve and support the achievement of RNC.

The RNC Mindset is the same Mindset that enables us all to birth every nanosecond of our whole lives better … and that includes birthing our own and supporting other who are birthing their own deaths.

These skills are also taught to people who are learning to become Self-Help Mentors.

The best help we can ever get is Self-Help. The best help we can ever give is Self-Help Support.  Self-Help Mentors aim to help others to do all they can not to need help and to get any help they need when they cannot do without it.

These are skills the School helps us all to learn. We do this by talks, demonstrations and discussions. No teacher can now everything. Discussion that helps us all to share and to learn from each other’s life experience reinforces what we learn and when we share discussion we helps to improve what teachers … and Mentors … are teaching. Helps with parenting and education in general too!




* We have the RNC Facts.

*  The History of RNC is instructive.

*  We know what we can do – alone and together.

* We know how the RNC Mindset helps us to birth life.




Personal Consultations


These are available for adults and children both from me and from specially qualified colleagues.

·         Private education and support for self-managed childbirth and help to find obstetricians, midwives, doulas and birth educators when we want and need their help.

·         Self-Help Mentoring is available for harm-free life problem solving for a range of challenges including finding and preparing attractive and healthy food and drink, relationship difficulties for partners, families, work and social, handling the social consequences of gender diversity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, general fitness achievement and maintenance and differing personal beliefs.

·         Lifestyle support aided by voice work, singing, public speaking, movement and dance as well as assisting disorganised living especially where this is a consequence of depression, loneliness and shyness.


Hosts Wanted

We need Local Community Hosts to help organise and promote talk-discussions and workshops. We charge small fees – enough to cover our costs and pay hosts a percentage of our after-expenses income.

Training is available for people who want to become Natural Childbirth Advocates, Natural Childbirth Educators and Self-Help Mentors. Active event hosts are trained free.



Citation does not necessarily imply total or partial agreement with me


·         Dick-Read G, 2004 (1960 reprint), Childbirth without Fear, Pinter and Martin, London (Heinemann, London)

·         Dick-Read G, 1953, Childbirth Without Fear – the film – from the Dick-Read School for Natural Childbirth

·         Dick-Read G, 1994, Childbirth Without Fear, HarperPaperbacks, New York

·         Dick-Read J and Briance P, 1960, What Everywoman Should Know About Childbirth, Heinemann, London

·         Dick-Read L, 2007, The Achievement Of Natural Childbirth Through Autonomous Proactivity: A Grounded Theory Approach, PhD Thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, New South Wales

·         Dick-Read L, 2016, Toxic Soup – a few thoughts, The Dick-Read School for Natural Childbirth, Adelaide South Australia

·         Dick-Read L, 2014, Modelling: Understanding experience and achieving outcomes while in no way defining the ultimate Nature of Reality, The Dick-Read School for Natural Childbirth, Adelaide South Australia

·         Heymann, 1995, Equal Partners: A physician’s call for a new spirit in medicine, Little Brown, Boston

·         Shanley, 1994, Unassisted Childbirth, Bergin and Gavey, Westport, Connecticut

·         Vincent-Priya, 1991, Birth Without Doctors: Conversations With Traditional Midwives, Earthspan, London

·         Wagner 1994, Pursuing The Birth Machine: The Search For Appropriate Birth Technology, ACE Graphics, Camperdown, New South Wales

·         Wagner 2008, Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First, University of California Press, California


Who’s Who?


Dr Grantly Dick-Read MD MA

1890 to 1959


Grantly Dick-Read (1980 to 1959) was known as Dick to his friends and family. He was born in Norfolk, England. Considered not very bright by his wealthy family, he was sent to St John’s College, Cambridge to become a Minister of Religion, a vocation in which he would be less likely to be an embarrassment to his family.

Dick was a world class athlete. At Cambridge he switched to science and then to medicine. Eventually he earned a medical research doctorate and a Master’s degree in classics.

Blown up and left for dead at Gallipoli, he recovered to be sent to the trenches in Flanders to do emergency surgery! He learned how to be both very frightened – and very brave!

His book Natural Childbirth was published in 1933. This became Childbirth Without Fear a worldwide best seller in many languages. It continues to change our world for the better.

Grantly Dick-Read was a man who understood fear and he learned how to avoid and overcome it. He learned from both African and European women how humans are designed by Mother Nature to have their babies. Inspired by a now unknown young cockney woman, he pioneered the Natural Childbirth Revolution.

His own personal, clinical and military experience helped him how to understand women’s experience of childbirth both at its worst and at its best.


Jessica Dick-Read Snr

1912 to 1998


Jessica Dick-Read (1912 to 1998) was an American born in Manila in the Philippians, the child of an American financier.

Educated in Australia and America, Jessica was one of the most travelled children in the world at the beginning of the 19th contrary. She traced her ancestral lines going back for a millennium with people from all classes and national origins. She had a very multicultural view from someone of her background. Her two sons who, though brought up in ‘colonial’ Far East and Africa were taught from a young age to respect all kinds of people and many cultures and ways of being. In this she and her husband were ahead of their time and their own upbringing.

Jessica Dick-Read was an early VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean). She knew the difference between unnatural and natural childbirth!

It was Jessica who inspired her then future husband to carry on in the face of scandalous opposition. She designed the first Natural Childbirth antenatal classes and taught teachers.

It was she who supported her husband, Grantly Duck-Read when slander and unscrupulous medical people banded against him because he was effectively making them unnecessary.


Dr Leigh Dick-Read



Leigh is a stepson of Dr Grantly Dick-Read MD, 1890 to 1959, Natural Childbirth Pioneer and author of worldwide bestseller Childbirth Without Fear.

His mother was Jessica Dick-Read, 1912 to 1998, the first Natural Childbirth Teacher and Teacher of Teachers. Leigh’s daughter is Jess Sweet who has two natural-born daughters, Gemma and Amanda.

DEGREES: PhD (Southern Cross University, New South Wales – Achieving Natural Childbirth Through Autonomous Proactivity – Research Thesis). M App Sci (University of Western Sydney, New South Wales – Social Ecology: Research Methodology, and Natural Childbirth in the contexts of Communication, Learning and Design). BA (Adelaide, South Australia - Psychology/Anthropology double major with Chinese Language, Philosophy (Western) and Symbolic Logic.

DIPLOMAS: Psychological Counselling, Natural Therapies and Remedial Massage.

CERTIFICATES: Counselling for Domestic Violence and Child Abuse; Montessori Early Childhood Teaching; ASIST - Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, Permaculture Design; Teaching English as a Second or Other Language – TESOL Cert IV; Small Business Administration – Cert IV.

He is also trained to help people to live as well as they can their own way and to die at home with family or other support, with full dignity and at minimal expense.  

EXPERIENCE: Former Royal Marine Reserve Commando – Green Beret (RMV 205364); Former Community Development Officer in Port Augusta, South Australia; Seven years training as a secular (non-religious) yogi – Satyananda Ashram, Adelaide; trained and experienced Actor, Singer, Dancer, Dance Teacher, Public Speaker; Wide but mostly very basic language skills and more than 50 years business, teaching, community and clinical work.

He also works to contribute to research aimed at minimising the consequences of isolation, including suicide, too often experienced by minorities including the gender diverse.

Leigh is POLICE CHECKED within Australia for working with vulnerable people – especially children and the disabled.

Leigh has 50 plus years of experience in clinical, community, business and teaching occupations.

As a child Leigh had serious learning difficulties. At 12 he could not read. Some teachers thought him intellectually defective. He was, and still is, acutely shy though he usually hides it well! However, he is stubborn! At 18 he was admitted to Millfield School in Somerset, England because he scored high enough on IQ tests. There he was labelled ‘Dyslexic’ – his greatest gift! With enormous help he taught himself to learn to learn in creative ways in many countries, cultures, colleges and occupations.

Based in South Australia he travels to teach and to learn from his students and his marvellous, ever-hospitable friends and anyone, anywhere, wherever he is invited work and can financially afford to go.

His learning and living continue with Relaxed Passion!


Leaders of Mankind


To dare to differ from the common herd

To face the scorn and titter of the crowd

To hear the thoughtless call your thoughts absurd

To stand alone in trouble but unbowed

To hold the truth when others stoop to lie

To press ahead when friends would lag behind

To live with courage and have faith to die

Is God’s design for Leaders of Mankind


Grantly Dick-Read – copyright held


Pioneers pass on unheard and unlamented until the trail they blazed is followed by a few who have believed. At the end they are discovered where their life’s work finished, mourned only by the wild flowers of the wilderness they loved.

(Dick-Read G, 2004, page 324)



© 2016.