Do you need to make a decision?
Decision - a conclusion or resolution reached after careful consideration - Oxford Dictionary
This is an amazing tool which will help you navigate the maternity system, to take control, understand your options and make an informed decision. It is one of the tools you are taught during my hypnobirthing and antenatal course. It is a tool developed by Katharine Graves herself and one I wish that all women would use.
B - Benefits. What are the benefits of accepting this choice AND the benefits of declining?
R - Risks. What are the risks of accepting this choice AND the risk of declining this choice?
A- Alternatives.There is ALWAYS an alternative option. You may not be told this unless you ask!
I - Instinct. What does it FEEL like you should do? Your body - you know best.
N - Nothing. What if you did nothing for 10 minutes? An hour? A week?
By gathering all of this information, you are starting to take control of your birth experience and making it a positive one.
Right from the moment you find out you are pregnant, you start making choices and decisions. Some you don’t even realise you have made and maybe some you didn’t actually realise you had a choice.
Like where to give birth, did you know you could choose any NHS maternity unit in the country? Or even an independent midwife or private hospital. Have you thought about where to give birth? At home? Labor ward? Birth centre? Or even in the woods?
Did you have the 12 week and 20 week scan? Do you know why you were offered them? The risks and benefits? What if you require further scan to maybe assess the baby's growth? What choice would you make?
Do you need blood tests? What are they for? What if you need testing for gestational diabetes? What are the pros and cons?
D-day is drawing near. Have you thought about vitamin K? Pain relief options - if any? Induction? caesarean? Continuous monitoring? Physiological or managed third stage of labour? There are so many decisions to make. All of which could have a huge impact on your journey. It could be the difference between a positive birth and one where you feel out of control.
Every single thing that happens in your pregnancy and birth is your decision. EVERYTHING! It goes without saying that your midwife and doctor make the recommendations for a reason and they are an amazing source of information and advice. But sometimes they may be hindered by policies and protocols. So the important thing is to question if this intervention is needed based on your body, and your pregnancy. Overwhelmed? Huge responsibility? Yep!
But do not worry, use the B.R.A.I.N tool and it will help guide you.
Other top tips
Write EVERYTHING down. Write down all of your questions. There is nothing more annoying than walking out of the room and remembering something important - pregnancy brain, its a real thing*
Never make a decision, when you are first asked it. It isn't’ a once in a lifetime opportunity. You are entitled to time (space) to make your decisions. Gather all of the information (benefits, risks and alternatives) and ask for some time alone.
Do your own research, but please do not consult doctor Google. You need to use the right research papers like NICE guidelines and AIMS. Just because x,y and z happened to a friend of a friend doesn't mean that its concrete evidence!
Take your time. Allowing a change of plan to settle in your mind can change a moment of panic into a positive experience. For example having a minute alone before an instrumental delivery. Take some deep breaths, have a cuddle and say I CAN DO THIS. Trust me if it is a genuine emergency your feet won’t touch the ground, the NHS is beyond amazing and we are so very lucky to have access to it. It does save lives, hundreds of lives everyday.
Know that you can ALWAYS change your mind. For example if on your birth plan you said you wanted to avoid pethidine and a circumstance arises where actually you would like to try it, then go ahead and change your mind. Sometimes you may not know what is right for you, until you are in that moment.
So take control of your pregnancy and birth, own it and rock it, you are a superhero.
If you are interested in taking the next step to a positive birth, BirthNerd Hypnobirthing and Antenatal Classes run throughout Cheshire and Shropshire, privately one to one, but group courses are coming very soon. All bookings can be made on my website. Or if you simply want to talk more about your options please feel free to email me with absolutely no obligation.
*pregnancy brain isn’t actually fully proven, it is based on my own research and my brain!!
Picture by @duvet_days
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