How to Make Informed Decisions During Labor

During labor, you may be faced with certain situations where you need to make a decision. Some examples of this may be something such as, “May I break your water?” or “Would you like an epidural?” to something more serious such as, “You’ve been laboring for X amount of hours with little progress, can we go ahead with a cesarean?”

When faced with questions that you must make a decision on, it can feel overwhelming or even scary. I’m going to give you a big tip on how to handle these situations! Just remember the acronym, B.R.A.I.N.

  • B – BENEFITS: Ask your care provider what the benefits are to this procedure. How will they benefit the baby? Is it something that is necessary to do right now? Also ask your care provider why he or she suggested this procedure in the first place.
  • R – RISKS: Be absolutely sure to ask what the risks are associated with said procedure. How will this affect my baby? How will it affect me? Also ask if the procedure will affect the rest of your labor. Another key question to ask is if other procedures will follow this one. You may not want procedure after procedure done to you. Some may not mind that.
  • A – ALTERNATIVES: Ask your care provider if there are any alternatives to the procedure suggested. Also ask if there are any other options.
  • I – INTUITION: What is your gut saying? How does your partner feel about the recommended procedure? What makes you comfortable; do you feel uneasy with this procedure or does it feel like it would be okay?
  • N – NOTHING: Ask your care provider if what they are suggesting can wait. Chances are if it can wait, it’s certainly not  that urgent. Start by asking if you can wait an hour. If that is fine, after that hour ask if you can wait two to four hours. Finally, ask your care provider what would happen if you did nothing. What would happen if I didn’t have the procedure?

This acronym is very helpful and can help get you through some tough decision making. I suggest printing it out and having it with you at your birthing facility if you don’t think you can remember this.

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