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Making Informed Decisions in Pregnancy and Birth

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Confident pregnant women discussing options with her partner over the tablet.

Pregnancy and childbirth are incredibly transformative experiences in a person's life. As an expectant parent, you are faced with a multitude of choices and decisions to make regarding your pregnancy and birthing journey. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of making informed decisions during this crucial time and how having a doula can be a valuable resource to guide you through this process.

What are informed decisions?

Informed decisions are choices made with a deep understanding of all available options, potential risks, benefits, and the personal values and preferences of the expectant parent. Making informed decisions in pregnancy and birth involves actively seeking and evaluating information, consulting with healthcare providers, and considering your own values and desires.

Why informed decision-making matters:

  1. Empowerment: Making informed decisions empowers you to take an active role in your pregnancy and birth journey. It ensures that you have a voice in the process and can actively participate in decisions that impact your body and your baby.

  2. Reducing Anxiety: Knowing what to expect and being prepared can significantly reduce anxiety and fear surrounding pregnancy and birth. It helps you feel more confident and in control.

  3. Personalization: Informed decisions allow you to personalize your birth experience based on your values and preferences. This ensures that your birth plan aligns with your unique desires and circumstances.

  4. Safety: Informed decisions can lead to safer outcomes for both you and your baby. Understanding the risks and benefits of different interventions or birthing options allows you to make choices that prioritize safety.

How a doula can help

A doula is a trained professional who provides emotional, physical, and informational support to expectant parents before, during, and after childbirth. Here's how a doula can assist you in making informed decisions:

- Informational support: Doulas are well-versed in pregnancy and birth-related information. They can provide you with evidence-based research and resources to help you understand your options better.

- Advocacy: Doulas can advocate for your preferences and desires during childbirth, helping you communicate effectively with your healthcare team and ensuring your wishes are respected.

- Emotional support: Pregnancy and birth can be emotionally challenging. Doulas offer emotional support, providing a calming presence and helping you cope with stress and anxiety.

- Birth plan assistance: Doulas can help you create a birth plan that reflects your values and preferences, including your choices regarding pain management, interventions, and birthing locations.

- Continuous presence: Doulas are with you throughout your labor and birth, offering continuous support and guidance as you navigate decisions in real-time.

Tips for making informed decisions

1. Research information from reliable sources:

- Take into account opinions those you respect and value (healthcare providers, NICE guidelines)

- Look into the research available (Cochran reviews, RCOG,

- Attend childbirth education classes (NCT classes or those run by local doulas and independent midwives)

- Read books on pregnancy and childbirth (Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin; Reclaming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage: Weaving ancient wisdom with modern knowledge by Rachel Reed ; Positive Birth by Milli Hill ; Mindfull Hypnobirth by Sophie Fletcher).

2. Ask your healthcare provider questions about your options and what to expect during pregnancy and birth.

3. Trust your instincts, pay attention to your intuition and what feels right for you. Your feelings and preferences matter.

4. Work with your birth partner/s and healthcare team to create a birth plan that aligns with your values and preferences. Check my blog post for guidance.

5. While making informed decisions is crucial, remember that childbirth can be unpredictable. Be prepared to adapt your plan if necessary. Stay flexible.

Making informed decisions in pregnancy and birth is a fundamental aspect of ensuring a positive and empowering experience. With the support of a doula, you can navigate this journey with confidence, knowing that you have the information and advocacy you need to make choices that are right for you and your baby. Trust in your ability to make the best decisions for your unique circumstances, and remember that your voice matters throughout this transformative process.

To see all the different ways that I can support you throughout pregnancy and birth - visit my Services page.

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