Are You Using Your BRAIN?

The Pregnancy Podcast – Using Your BRAIN: 5 Questions You Should Be Asking

Why this podcast?
The Pregnancy Podcast features regularly on this blog and needs no long introduction.

This podcast provides evidence-based information in easy to listen to episodes of thirty minutes or less and covers everything you need to know about pregnancy, birth and the early postpartum.

The episode
The BRAIN tool is something I, as a doula, cover with all my clients. It’s easy to remember for both the birthing person and partner and can make a big difference in your pregnancy and birth journey.


Because to truly be a part of all the decisions that may need to be made along the way, you need information.

You need to be able to talk to your care provider and have open conversations so that you can make the best decisions for you and your family.


B is for Benefits
Whenever a procedure, test, intervention or pain management option is offered or suggested the first question you (or your partner) can ask is –

What are the benefits of this?

Actually, the very first question can beis this medically necessary? or even ”is this an emergency?” but if it is not then you have time (and time alone with your partner and doula is something you can ask for) to process the information and see if you have more questions.

Knowing the benefits of an intervention or procedure will help you to understand why it is being suggested and whether it is something you want to consider.

R is for Risks
There will always be risks that go along with any procedure and in order to make a truly informed decision you need to know what those are.

Weighing both the risks and the benefits will help you to come to a decision that feels best for you and your baby.

A is for Alternatives
There will almost always be alternatives to the procedure being suggested and perhaps one of those is a better choice for you.

Remember to ask about the risks and benefits of each alternative too.

This can be a great question to ask when it comes to pain management during labour, although you will want to have had this conversation long before labour time.

There may well be options that you have never even heard of but which could work wonderfully for you.

Ask questions!

I is for Intuition
This one is so important.

Scientific, evidence-based information is vital but what your intuition tells you is best for you and your baby plays a role as well.

With so much information out there, listening to your gut and trusting yourself is going to help you so much, especially as your child grows and the noise of other people’s opinions does too.

N is for Nothing
Or, you could say, wait.

A good example here is induction. If you are being offered the chance to induce your labour at forty-one weeks you may choose to do nothing for the time being and wait to re-evaluate the situation closer to forty-two weeks.

Sometimes, the answer is not a clear yes or no but a wait and see, or do nothing for now.

To wrap up
Vanessa talks in detail at the beginning of this episode about consent; what it is and why it is important as well as what constitutes an intervention or procedure.

She also goes into more examples for each of the BRAIN letters so this is a good one to listen to (and it’s only eighteen minutes long!).

Did you use the BRAIN tool during your pregnancy, birth or postpartum? Did you find it helpful?

I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time!

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By emilywills

Emily Wills is a doula based in Stockholm. She believes that birth can be a beautiful and empowering experience and started this blog as a way of sharing some really great podcasts. She is also a mother of three and an enthusiastic runner.

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