BRAIN is a simple acronym to assist you in the decision-making process – whether it be “Should I get the quad screen test?” during pregnancy or “Should I get an epidural?” during labor. Unfortunately, there is a “standard of care” with many providers which makes a series of tests and interventions routine - without considering the specific needs of the individual.
In order to achieve more personalized, individual care, A Birth Smart woman asks questions.
B ~ What are the potential BENEFITS of the action?
R ~ What are the RISKS?
A ~ What are some ALTERNATIVES to this action?
I ~ What does my INTUITION suggest?
N ~ What happens if I decide to do NOTHING?
When it comes to birth, emotional benefits and risks can also play a huge role in the outcome and should be considered. Also remember that the preceding questions produce very different answers if you ask an anesthesiologist vs. a natural childbirth instructor vs. your best friend. You should consider where the information is coming from and the biases that it may carry. It’s about who you are, who you trust, and making the best decision for you and your baby.
Photo by Kimberly Mitchell.
© 2010-2011 Birth Smart Childbirth Education & Doula Services ~ Acronym ‘BRAIN’ from ICEA-International Childbirth Education Association.