Decision Making During Labor: Using Your B.R.A.I.N.

Brain vs heart, making decisions during labor

The waves of labor bring you up and down and occasionally all over the place. At times in labor, we simply have to go with the flow and surrender to mother nature’s plan. However, now and again we may need to use our B.R.A.I.N. to make decisions during labor.  

 While childbirth can be filled with joy and excitement, it can also come with uncertainty and tough decisions. As your doula it is our goal to support you through all of it. We are here to help you make informed decisions that feel just right for you and your baby. Let’s talk about this decision-making tool called B.R.A.I.N.

What Does the Acronym B.R.A.I.N. Mean?

B.R.A.I.N. is a reference that can help to gather essential information and make informed and empowered decisions during labor. Each letter represents a key aspect to consider:

  • B: Benefits – What are the potential benefits of the suggested intervention or decision? Understanding the positive outcomes can give you insights into how the choice might impact your birthing experience.
  • R: Risks – What are the potential risks associated with the decision? Weighing the potential risks can help you evaluate the safety and possible drawbacks of the choice.
  • A: Alternatives – Are there other options available? You want to be aware of alternative approaches, procedures, or choices so you can consider all possibilities and pick the one that suits you best. 
  • I: Intuition – How do you feel about the suggested course of action? Trusting your instincts and intuition is important during labor. Your emotions and feelings play a significant role in your overall experience.
  • N: Nothing – What if you don’t decide right away? Sometimes waiting for more information or doing nothing is okay too. Find out the implications of not taking immediate action. Explore your options and take the time you need to decide. 

Using B.R.A.I.N. During Labor

Picture this: You’re in labor, and your doctor or midwife tells you that your labor is progressing slower than expected. He suggests administering pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) to speed up contractions. Before jumping in, you and your doula talk through B.R.A.I.N. together: : 

  • B (Benefits): Think about the benefits of using pitocin. It could potentially help make labor shorter and therefore easier for you. 
  • R (Risks): Now we’ll talk about the risks associated with pitocin. Stronger contractions might lead to a need for pain relief, additional interventions, or the possibility of fetal distress.
  • A (Alternatives): Let’s explore other ways to assist with labor progress, such as position changes or natural methods to augment contractions. 
  • I (Intuition): Pause to listen to your heart and your intuition. Assess how you feel about this. Are you comfortable proceeding with pitocin, or do you have reservations? 
  • N (Nothing): Take a moment to think about waiting a bit. It’s okay to pause and decide later if that feels better for you.

How Your Doula Can Help

Your doula will be right by your side giving you the information you need to feel confident about your choices. She is a trained and experienced birth companion who can be a valuable ally. Doulas are well-versed in the B.R.A.I.N. reference. They have been through these situations before, and know the ropes. They can support you by: 

  • Providing information: Giving you the evidence-based facts in a simple way, so you can understand what is going on and make informed decisions. 
  • Talk with your health care team: If you have questions or feel unsure about something, your doula can help to make sure your health care team explains it clearly, so that all questions are addressed and options are thoroughly explained.
  • Emotional support: Your doula is there for you. She will provide continuous emotional support, empowering you to trust your instincts and make decisions that resonate with your inner self. 

Making the decision that feels best to you

In the end, the goal of using B.R.A.I.N. during labor is to empower you to make decisions that are best for you and your baby. Childbirth is a profoundly individual experience, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Having all of the relevant information, while also trusting your intuition will help you choose the options that align with your values and preferences.

With your doula by your side, trusting your inner wisdom, you’ve got the tools to rock this birthing journey with confidence and clarity. At Buddha Belly Doulas we promise to be your cornerstone, guiding you toward the choices that make this experience truly magical for you and your baby. You’ve got this!

About Christie Collbran

Christie believes in helping women recognize their own inner wisdom, strength and power. Having served as President of the Tampa Bay Birth Network for six years and with ten years serving families as a birth doula, she has a reputation for leadership, dedication and compassion. A childbirth educator, certified lactation counselor as well as a certified doula, she makes a point of ensuring mothers and their partners understand all their birthing options and what to expect on their journey.> keep reading