B.R.A.I.N – Your tool for Informed Decision Making

Posted 02 Jan 2023

During your labour and birthing there will many moments where you and your birth partner will need to make decisions about the care of you and your baby. With natural heightening of emotions and in some instances a quick moving environment Decision-making during labour can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. It’s natural to feel unsure of what to do and to rely on the guidance of healthcare providers. However, it’s important for you as the parents to be actively involved in the decision-making process and to feel empowered to make choices that align with your values, needs and preferences.

One useful tool that can help you and your birth partner make informed decisions during labour is the B.R.A.I.N technique. B.R.A.I.N stands for Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Intuition, and Nothing. This acronym can help you break down and evaluate different options in a structured and logical way, bringing you back to the present moment.

Here’s a breakdown of how to use the B.R.A.I.N technique to make informed decisions during labour:

  1. Benefits: Consider the potential benefits of each option. What are the advantages of each choice? How might it positively impact your labour and delivery experience?
  2. Risks: Think about the potential risks or drawbacks of each option and ask your care providers. What are the potential negative consequences of each choice? How might it negatively impact you , your baby, labour and delivery experience?
  3. Alternatives: Consider alternative options. Are there other approaches or solutions that are available that haven’t been told to you or yet considered?
  4. Intuition: Trust your gut. What feels right for you and your baby? It’s important to listen to your own. body, feelings and instincts, and to consider them as part of the decision-making process.
  5. Nothing: Consider the option of doing nothing. In some cases, it may be best to take a wait-and-see approach and not make any decisions until more information becomes available.
B.R.A.I.N informed decision making labour

Using the B.R.A.I.N technique can help you make informed and empowered decisions during labour. Here are some examples of how to apply the technique in practice:

Example 1: Surge management during labour

Benefits: An epidural can provide pain relief during labour and can allow you to rest and relax.

Risks: An epidural can cause side effects such as a drop in blood pressure, a longer labour, and an increased risk of needing a c-section.

Alternatives: There are a number of non-pharmacological Surge management techniques that you can try, such as breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, self-hypnosis, acupressure, and water immersion.

Intuition: Trust your instincts and listen to your body. If you feel that an epidural is the right choice for you, go for it. If you prefer to try non-pharmacological techniques, that’s okay too.

Nothing: It’s okay to take a wait-and-see approach and see how you progress through labour before making a decision about surge management.

Example 2: Inducing labour

Benefits: What are the benefits to you and your baby if you were to agree to induction? What has led to the suggestion to be induced?

Risks: What are the risks to you and your baby if you agreed to an induction? What method of induction is being suggested and why? What are the risks of each method of induction? What are the risks to there being a cascade of medical intervention?

Alternatives: If your healthcare provider suggests inducing labour, it’s important to consider to also discuss what are the other alternatives and risks and benefits of these alternatives.

Intuition: Trust your instincts and listen to your body. If you feel that inducing labour is not the right choice for you, it’s important to voice them and consider alternative approaches.

Nothing: It may be possible to wait and see if labour begins naturally, depending on your individual circumstances.

B.R.A.I.N informed decision making

In conclusion, the B.R.A.I.N technique can be a helpful tool for you are your birth partner to use when making informed decisions during your labour. By considering the benefits, risks, alternatives, intuition, and nothing, you can feel more empowered and in the driver’s seat of your birthing experience. Remember to communicate with your healthcare provider and advocate for your needs and preferences. It’s important to feel confident in the decisions you make and to trust that you are doing what is best for you and your baby.

If you would love to explore more tools that can support you in having a positive birth experience join Suzy in one of her Hypnobirthing Australia Classes or if you’d love the space to explore your options in your maternity care visit our Birth Mapping Sessions.

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