I remember sitting in the exam room. The sun was filtering through vintage lace curtains in the window in the little green house on 9th Avenue. I was in my first prenatal appointment with my new midwife.
I felt... well, shocked.
I was pregnant with my third child & had come ready to fight.
I had done my research.
I had my statistics on the tip of my barbed tongue ready to fight for the birth I wanted.
I 'knew my rights' and I was not going to be bullied into interventions during labor for a third time. I was not prepared for what I was to be told.
She said to me that every single thing was a choice there. That they did things differently. She told me all about something they (at the time) called mother-led care. She explained that the core of the idea was the understanding that *I* was in charge of my health-care & pregnancy, that I had the full right of informed consent and refusal.
I was told, for the first time in my life, that I was in control of my body in the eyes of my care provider.
Needless to say, I was shocked.
It shouldn't be shocking that a care provider trusts their patients enough to make their own decisions but in modern American obstetrics & midwifery, it is.
Through the course of my pregnancy I was supplied with unbiased information, I was supported in my choices, and I had had full body autonomy. I feel the pregnancy and birth were a very healing experience.
We discuss the importance of using your BRAIN when making decisions about your healthcare. Each letter of BRAIN stands for a question you must answer.
B - Benefits : What are the possible good outcomes of this test, intervention, or drug? What are the odds of having that beneficial outcome?
R - Risks : What are the possible negative outcomes of this test, intervention, or drug? What are the odds of having that negative outcome?
A - Alternatives : What other options are there? Is this our only choices or is this merely your care providers usual choice? What other courses of action can you take?
I - Intuition : What is your gut telling you? Trust your intuition.
N - Nothing : What happens if we do nothing?
If you need medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, then you should consult with your health-care professional. If you have a medical emergency, then you should contact your doctor or seek emergency services immediately.
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