I wanted to start by saying I think it’s a good idea to be knowledgeable about your body and birth to start with. However you’re never going to know everything, or understand all the medical details like an obstetrician might, but you can be as informed as possible. I always talk about choice and consent, but your decisions need to be coming from a place of INFORMED consent. It might be a simple decision that you’re asked to make whilst in labour e.g. do you want a physiological or managed third stage. It a good idea to know what this means beforehand, so you don’t have to ask for an explanation mid contraction or to simply answer without knowing what you’re agreeing to.
Let’s now assume you’re as prepared as you can be. You can do this by reading books (I can recommend some if you like), you can hire a doula or you could attend some antenatal education. I’m running Active Birth Preparation Workshops, to support and prepare you and empower you into making your own informed choices. Please do let me know if you’re interested or take a look at the details here https://breathebirthyoga.co.uk/ashtanga-style-yoga/
Let’s say the big day comes and there’s some decisions to be made. There could be many things but I’ll give you a few common examples…Shall I accept induction of labour? Shall I transfer from home to hospital? Shall I accept an epidural? Shall I agree to the caesarean? Shall I have a physiological or managed third stage? Shall I have my waters broken? Shall I wait for delayed cord clamping? Should I give my baby the vitamin K injection, orally, or not at all? Shall I breastfeed or formula feed? The list could go on!
If questions come up then I’d suggest using the BRAIN acronym
B – Benefits
R – Risks
A – Alternatives
I – Intuition
N – Nothing
Let’s examine this acronym and use induction of labour due to being ‘over due’ as the reason the hospital are suggesting it.
Firstly consider the BENEFITS to what is being offered. Maybe you’re fed up being pregnant and just want the baby here. It’ll get it over with, rather than waiting longer. It may stop you worrying and possibly having to go to the hospital for scans every day, because you’re worried about the baby’s health. Your baby will be born soon and the risk the doctors are worried about will be gone or at least minimised.
Secondly consider the RISKS to what you’re being offered. You may have read the book by AIMS called Inducing Labour and you may know it’s not as risky as people may suggest to be over 40 weeks pregnant. You may think it’s important to let your body and baby decide when it’s time to get things going. You may know about the cascade of intervention, and that statistically you’re more likely to have other forms of intervention if you start off with induction. You may know that induced labours can be more painful. You need to consider whether these risks outweigh the benefits. Are there any underlying health condition or issues to consider as well?
Next is ALTERNATIVES, there might be a great compromise. You may want to wait a few days and try some natural methods of induction in the mean time. You may decide to go to the hospital for daily monitoring or to stay in hospital until labour starts naturally.
Then you need to consider something that’s often overlooked, your INTUITION! What is your gut instinct telling you? Often we know what the right choice is but we doubt ourselves. We need to trust our instincts more. You are the best person to know what’s right for your body and for your baby!
Finally there is the choice to do NOTHING. This doesn’t mean doing nothing full stop, but maybe nothing for now and assessing again in a few hours after you’ve had time to consider it properly, or tomorrow, depending on the urgency of the situation. In this example you may want to use an alternative and reconsider the induction again at 42 weeks, so doing nothing for now.
Ultimate it’s your body, your baby and your choice! You know what’s best, trust yourself!