Hey there, wonderful moms-to-be! As a doula I regularly remind parents to be that they have a plethora of options available to them for their care in pregnancy, labour and beyond and that each and every decision to be made about that care is theirs and theirs alone to make. But when faced with so many choices how do you go about making the decisions that are best for you, your baby, the stage of your pregnancy etc? Well that's exactly what I'm here to chat about in this Blog post. Let's dive in, shall we?
1. Embrace BRAINS:
Ever heard of the nifty BRAINS acronym? It's like your decision-making compass during pregnancy. Here's the breakdown:
B - Benefits: What are the potential advantages of this decision?
R - Risks: Let's chat about the possible downsides. Every choice has them.
A - Alternatives: Are there other paths to consider? It's all about options!
I - Intuition: Trust your gut. How does this decision sit with you?
N - Nothing (or Next): The power of pausing. What if you decide to do nothing for now?
S - Smile/Space: Smile and thank your care provider for taking the time to explain everything to you and then give yourself the time and space to process it all. Decisions can be marinated and in 99% of cases does not noeed to be rushed.
Remember that your healthcare provider will present their preferred option for care; either because that's what their Trust policy states, that's what suits their preferred timescale or distribution of resources. It will most certainly not be the only option available for your care, there will be alternatives but often these will not be shared with you unless you ask. It is also important to remember that all options will come with associated benefits and risks and it is up to you to decide which risks you are happy to take and which you are not. Finally I want you to know that your intiuition is the most important guide on which direction to take, regardless of whether this aligns with your healthcare providers advice and your original plan or not.
2. Informed Consent:
Now, let's talk about the magical concept of informed consent. Picture this as the cornerstone of decision-making.
Informed consent means you're not just nodding along; you're actively involved in the decision-making process. However, in order to truly give informed consent you need all the information about a proposed plan of action, including all the associated pros, cons and follow up implications. Your doula (that's me!) is your partner in this journey, ensuring you're well-informed about the choices ahead. I would use my previous experience, training and wider doula community to ensure that you are signposted to the evidence based sources of information you need to make your decisions and provide informed consent with confidence.
It's like being in the driver's seat, not just a passenger. So, feel free to ask questions, share your thoughts, and craft a plan that feels just right for you and your baby.
3. Sitting with Decisions:
If you have a really big decision to make e.g. to go for a repeat elective c-section or plan for a VBAC delivery then here's a little golden nugget of wisdom – take the time to cozy up with each decision! Imagine each choice as a comfy chair; sit with it for a week. Let the decision marinate in your thoughts, listen to your gut, and see how it feels after a bit of time. Then after a week make the opposite decision and allow yourself to sit with the new decision for a week. Your preferred way forward should become much clearer after this process because pregnancy decisions are like fine wine; they get better with a little time and patience.
4. The Doula Touch:
As your doula, my mission is to guide you through this decision-making dance with grace and confidence. We'll BRAINS our way through choices, and I'll be your sounding board, your information hub, and your unwavering support.
Pregnancy decisions might seem like a maze, but with a doula by your side, consider it a well-lit path. Together, let's make every decision a step closer to the positive, empowering birth experience you deserve.
Ready to embark on this decision-making adventure? I'm right here, cheering you on!