You may think that you agonize over decisions now. But wait until you become a parent! The concept of agonizing decisions has taken on a whole new meaning. Our doulas spend time with our clients during their prenatal birth planning session going over the BRAIN acronym and decision making to prepare them for labor and parenting. This is also a skill that will serve you well in all areas of life, so even if you’re not in the pregnant/new parent stage of life, you may want to keep reading.
BRAIN Acronym and Decision Making
First, what the heck does B.R.A.I.N. stand for? Let’s break it down:
B is for Benefits
If an option is being presented to you during labor, delivery, or after your baby has been born, there are benefits (or your OB/midwife would not be telling you about it). What are these benefits? What are the short-, medium-, and long-term benefits? Ask questions! This is your body and your baby and you have the right to know. Some people like to write these benefits out so they can reference them during later steps.
R is for Risks
There are very few actions in life that do not have some inherent risk. What are the risks or potential risks of each of the options you are being presented with? Are they just immediate risks (where if you avoid them you’re “out of the woods”) or are there potential long-term implications? What is the likelihood of these risks and how will they be managed?
A is for Alternatives
What other options are there for proceeding? Are any of them viable options given the situation you and your baby are in? Keep in mind that there are some alternatives that may exist that are not an option because of where you are delivering, the physical condition of you and/or your baby, the skill set your provider possesses, etc.
I is for Intuition
What is your “gut” telling you to do? Are you feeling more strongly drawn to one option over others? Have you analyzed the risk-benefit ratio of the option you are drawn to? Involve your partner in this, too. What is their gut saying is the “right” thing to do? Keep in mind that Blissful Birthing strongly believes there are no absolute “right” or “wrong” decisions – only those which are right or wrong for you and your growing family. If one of our doulas is present at the birth of your child we will 100% support the decision that you, your partner, and your medical provider have made.
N is for Nothing (seriously)
How much time do you have before you have to make this decision? What would happen if you did nothing for an hour or two? If your provider is able to give you more than 5-10 minutes to discuss your options there may be some leeway in terms of what can be done. However, if your provider tells you that you need to make a decision right now, you know the situation is emergent. Emergent situations are the reason why it is so important that you choose a medical team you trust. Do they happen often? No. But when they do, it is reassuring to have that trusting relationship.
What’s the next step?
We encourage all of our clients to have open discussions often with their medical providers. This allows you the opportunity to relay your preferences and concerns and for you to get a feel for them. Try your best to meet as many of the providers in your practice as you can. We know that can be overwhelming, especially in a larger practice, but it gives you an opportunity to discuss what is important to you with each of them so they’re on the same page of you should they be attending your baby’s birth.
Although we may be bias, we think that hiring a doula can help you gain confidence in your decision making skills and teach you to advocate for yourself during the birth of your baby. Our team of professional doulas can help you work through these decisions in the delivery room and make sure you have all the information you need to make the best decision for your family.
You can also download or print this business card sized reference of the BRAIN acronym for easy access.