Knowledge is Power!
Find out how to make the right decisions for a better pregnancy and birth experience. Have you ever felt overwhelmed perhaps there are too many choices and you just don’t know which to pick? Or perhaps you would like more information from your doctor or midwife regarding a test before making your decision.
I will show you an easy way to put your thoughts all in order so that you can evaluate which approach/choice works best for you. Being a major decision-maker in your own pregnancy journey is empowering and research has proven it makes for a more positive experience.
I do so love a good acronym (who doesn’t?!) Whenever you are offered a test or intervention, remember your…..brain!
Making the right decisions for YOU: using BRAIN
B – BENEFITS – these depend on your situation, there are some procedures that you may have normally wanted to avoid that are beneficial in other circumstances.
R – RISKS – healthcare providers generally inform you of major known risks, however you may need to do some of your own research. Care providers’ own beliefs and experiences based on their personal and professional backgrounds may affect how they talk about the relative benefits and risks.
A – ALTERNATIVES – there are alternative treatments in the form of other pharmacological medicine or complementary therapies. Formal research into complementary therapies are hard to come by due to lack of funding (there’s no money to be gained by pharmacological companies!). Keep in mind that midwives are experts in normal births whereas doctors are experts in complex births.
I – INTUITION – call this your gut instinct. Deep down there’s a voice or a feeling telling you which decision feels best for you, listen to this voice. It deserves to be heard.
N – NOTHING – ask yourself, what if you do nothing? This can be a valid alternative at times. Choosing nothing can also be helpful in giving you more space to consider your options. You may want to check if it is possible to changer your mind at a later stage. Your healthcare providers should also uphold the right of their patients/clients to make a polite “informed refusal” of an intervention.
An example: vaginal examinations in labour to check for progress
- can give an indication of your progress in labour
- it can also give the midwife useful information of the baby’s position (if your waters have broken)
- if the labour has slowed down or stalled – it can give the midwife a clear picture why it is slow and whether any intervention is necessary for labour to progress.
- it can be intensely uncomfortable
- it only tells you a snap shot of your progress at that time, it does not have any predictive value for how much longer it will take
- it can introduce infection for the baby if the waters have broken
- if the dilation is not as much as expected it can lead to disappointment
- there are external visual signs that a midwife can look out for such as the purple line (a dark line that starts at the anus and moves up the cleft or bum crack – when it is all the way to the top, your cervix is approximately fully dilated)
- if your breathing or the sounds you make has changed
- the length and frequency of the contractions/surges
- passing the mucous plug or the “show” can indicate progress
- noticed a change in your emotions
- Intuition: ask yourself why do you want to know your dilation? Once you have the result, will it change how you manage your labour?
Perhaps you do not want any vaginal examinations at this time or perhaps you do not want any examinations at all. What would happen then? Is an examination really necessary? Will it change the way your labour is managed?
You can use the BRAIN acronym to help with making the right decisions for your for a better pregnancy, and birth. Or you can access my private birth preferences/birth plan sessions and I can help you navigate through the many options. Get in touch to book your session!