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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne Lim


2 blue robin's eggs in a nest

These days having a baby means making many choices. From who will be your care provider, where you will birth, cloth vs paper diapers, crib or bassinet... Aaagh! The list is endless. And it can feel overwhelming. Especially overwhelming, are decisions that affect your and your baby's health. Those decisions carry with them what feels like the entire weight of your life.

The ultimate responsibility of choices in health care does lie with you...which doesn't help to ease the overwhelm, I know. We hire our care providers because they have more knowledge, expertise and experience than we do in the area of pregnancy and birth. This makes sense but it does not mean that we hand over our intelligence, dignity, autonomy nor responsibility once we strike up a relationship with a care provider. Your right to be an involved participant in your health care sits right alongside your responsibility to do so. The best way to approach informed decision making is to Cultivate Good Information Gathering Skills.

Good and thorough information keeps you where you should be; at the forefront of the decision making process.

Sounds easy... but how does one go about gathering the right information to make good choices? This can be tough, especially when there are barriers in your way (communication issues like English as a second language, mental health issues, power dynamic issues, etc...)

Listen, we can all only do the best we can with the information we have at any given time.

And so you start by Asking Good Questions.

Here is a list of questions to ask in your quest to gather the information necessary to make good choices in situations that may come up during your pregnancy, birth or afterward.

1. What is going on?

You need a thorough explanation of the situation that needs managing, handling or remedying.

2. What do you propose we do?

You need to know specifically what your care giver is suggesting be done and how it would work to remedy the problem.

3. What are the risks (to your baby, you and your birth experience)

This will help you look at the proposed remedy in it's entirety and allow you to decide if any inherent risks are worth it.

4. Is there anything else we can do? (besides what was suggested in Question 3)

What other options might you have? There may not be any viable alternatives but you never know....

Keep in mind that if any of the alternative suggestions appeal to you, you will need to go back to Question #3 to clear up the risks.

5. What about if we do NOTHING?

Sometimes things get better on their own if you just step out of the way....This is a valid question.

6. How long do we have before we have to make a decision?

Some situations are urgent and require timely decisions. Others you can approach in a slower fashion. Use the time you have to lay out the information you have gathered and make a decision.

Once you have gathered your information by asking good questions, you will know that You Have Done Your Best

Especially in circumstances that are frightening, you can use this process to ground you and assist you in making the right decisions for yourself and your family. And doing your best is all anyone can ask of you.

Go forth and birth!!

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