Benefits – What are the benefits of this procedure? How will this help me/my baby/my labor?
Risks – What are the risks of this procedure? How might this negatively affect me/baby/labor?
Alternatives – Are there alternatives to this procedure? Are there other options?
Intuition – What is my gut feeling about this?
Need Time, or Nothing – Can I delay this procedure and take some time to think about it/Discuss it with my partner? What will happen if I choose to do nothing for now?
During my first prenatal visit, I always give my clients an Intervention Information Checklist. This is a list of interventions that could take place or might be offered throughout the labor, delivery, and immediately following birth. We go over this list together so that we are able to discuss benefits, risks and alternatives ahead of time as many people don’t realize they have the right to ask questions or even refuse certain procedures when they are told they “have” to by a doctor.
In a non-emergency situation, there is always time to take a pause, way your options, and listen to your own intuition. One of the many great things about having a Doula is that we are there to discuss your options. We speak friend but we also speak medical. Our knowledge can be invaluable.
Here is an example of how it relates to birth…
Your doctor/midwife comes in during your labor, you are 7cm dilated. She suggests they break your water. You pause and you try to bring your mind back to everything you have ever read or learned about the artificial rupture of membranes.
Keep in mind that you are in labor when you have to make this decision and that can be very difficult.
This is when it’s great to have a Doula!
You ask your doctor/midwife for a couple of minutes to process this new information, she steps out and you, your husband and your Doula go through the acronym.
You ask your Doula… What are the Benefits of breaking my water now?
She replies, “breaking your water now while you are 7cm dilated and having a consistent pattern of contractions will likely speed up your labor.”
Next, you ask your Doula, “What are the Risks to breaking my water now?”
She replies, “The two risks you should be most aware of are, 1) That once your water breaks, you will be “on the clock” and they will want to continue to speed things up and 2) The other is that your contractions will likely become more difficult.”
You ask your Doula… Are there any Alternatives to breaking my water?
She replies, “Unfortunately, there are not. You can either have them break it or wait for it to break on its own. The choice always belongs to you.
Next, your Doula asks you what your Intuition is telling you about this and encourages you to do what feels right for you.
Lastly, you ask your Doula, “What if we do Nothing now and think about this again in an hour?”
Your Doula replies, “That seems reasonable but you should discuss it with your doctor/midwife because they may not be here in an hour if you decide you’d like to do it then. Ask if they would come back to do it at that point or if you would have to wait until they were available again.”
Remember, take your time. No one should ever make you feel rushed or forced into making a decision. Making informed decisions about your body and baby will make you feel empowered in your birth process.