Sept. 9, 2022

Quick Tip 5: Advocating for Yourself/Informed Consent

Quick Tip 5: Advocating for Yourself/Informed Consent

Do you know how to advocate for yourself during labor? Do you know how to make an informed decision, or give informed consent? 

Today's quick tip gives you an easy way to help you get all the information you need to make the decision that is best for you. 


A  lot of women hear that they should advocate for themselves during birth, but aren’t quite sure how. The best way that you can advocate for yourself, or have someone else advocate for you, is to be informed. 


“How can I be informed?” You ask.


 “Do I need to do research and know everything there is to know in the birthing world?” 


That would be helpful, yes, but not very practical. 


Today’s quick tip is an easy way for you to make informed decisions. That is to use your brain. Yes, you should use your actual brain, but what I’m referring to is the word brain. 

B-R-A-I-N, where each letter stands for something to help you become better informed. Let’s go through it. 


B is for benefits. What are the benefits?

R is for risks. What are the risks or side effects?

A is for alternatives. Are there any alternatives? What are they? 

I is for intuition. What does your intuition tell you about this? How are you feeling about


N is for nothing. What happens if I do nothing? 


Let’s go through this with an example. Your water has broken, you are having contractions. Your dr tells you to come to the hospital. You’re 4 cm when you show up, but because your water is broken, they admit you. Your contractions are strong, you get an epidural, and now you’re lying in bed. The doctor stops by and sees that after a few hours, you’re 5 cm. She wants to give you Pitocin. You don’t really know much about it, so you’re not sure. You want to advocate for yourself, but you don’t know how, because you don’t have a lot of information. So you ask your doctor: 


What are the benefits of giving me Pitocin? 

-It makes your contractions stronger and more efficient, which can help you progress faster


What are some of the risks? 

-It can put added stress on your uterus and on the baby, which can cause changes in fetal heart rate

Are there any alternatives? 

-You have an epidural, so you can’t really be mobile, but we can give you a peanut ball and help you change positions 30 minutes


Then you ask yourself, What does my intuition say? How am I feeling about this?

-I’m not really sure, I have a friend whose baby went into distress after being given Pitocin, and she ended up with a c-section. I’d really like to avoid that if possible.  


What happens if we do nothing? How about we wait an hour or two and see where I’m at then? 


Then you put all of those things together, talk it over with your partner and maybe your doula, and YOU make the decision that feels the best for you. 


I use this in the context of labor and delivery, because that’s what this podcast is about. This applies to any time you need to make a medical decision. Your doctor wants to run some tests? Wants you to start a new medication? Use your brain. 


Only when you have all the information can you make an informed decision. Only then, can you give informed consent. 


If you know someone who could benefit from this episode, please pass it along to them. Thank you for listening.