What's Your Childbirth Acronym IQ?
It has become increasingly important for everyone to do their research into the available medical treatments and alternative options for any given procedure, but this is especially imperative in pregnant women. The impossibility of learning everything you need to know about the common interventions during prenatal appointments is high, but also because the standards of care vary, not only between hospitals but also between caregivers.
One of the most valuable tools taught to parents in childbirth education classes today is how to necessitate decision-making. How does one utilize the right of informed consent before any treatment or procedure? Using the acronym B.R.A.I.N. helps women and their support people to understand the recommendations of the health care provider when deciding on the possibility of consenting to medical interventions.
Benefits: How does the recommended course of action or suggestion help me, my baby or my labour?
Risks: How does the recommended course of action or suggestion affect me, my baby or my labour? What other procedures may follow?
Alternatives: Are there any other options that I could consider? What are their benefits and risks?
Intuition: What is my gut feeling about consenting to this course of action or suggestion? How does my partner feel?
Nothing: What would be the consequence if I choose to say no or opt to wait?
By asking these questions, women and their partners work collaboratively with medical staff and can increase their confidence in labour when making informed choices about care. Effective communication is one of the key components to having a positive birth experience.
But this is not the only tool that can aid in increasing satisfaction during childbirth. While B.R.A.I.N. is a relatively known decision-making tool, not many know about utilizing B.R.E.A.T.H.E as a tool for coping with pain in labour.
In prenatal classes, you will be taught many types of comfort techniques, positional changes, breathing methods, and calming rituals. Often, these are foreign ways of coping with pain for many people. Understanding how your body naturally responds and reacts to stress and exertion is often a better approach. When people are under duress, they often revert to what they know or normally do. Using the acronym B.R.E.A.T.H.E. helps women and their partners to understand what their usual reactions are in dealing with discomfort and anxiety.
Breath: What is your breathing like when you are trying to relax? What pattern do you use now when you exercise? Do you take slow deep breaths? Do you hyperventilate? Hold your breath? Other?
Relaxation: What works for you to relax now? Mentally starting at your head and relaxing each body part? Touch? Movement? Sound? Hydrotherapy? Isolation? Other?
Emotion: What kind of emotional support are you hoping for in labour? Quiet, hand holding? A staunch supporter for your wishes? Kind, encouraging words? Validation? Reassurance? Other?
Activity: What kind of positions do you see yourself using? Being on a birth ball? Slow dancing? Rocking? Walking? Being on your hands and knees? Other?
Touch: Where, how, and if you want to be massaged in labour may change but what feels good right now? Hand, feet, shoulder, or head massage? Lower back pressure? Hip squeezes? Hair brushing? Other?
Hearing: How important is it for you to be heard by your medical staff? Your partner? Your other support people? Do you want a quiet environment? Do you want particular music or sounds? Discreet talking?
Environment: What is important to you about your surroundings, in addition to what you will be hearing? What do you want to see? What do you want to taste? What can you feel? What do you want to smell? What helps when you’re hot? Cold?
Every woman will have her own variation of what is comfortable or the most natural response, but most women seem to revolve around a few key features that can be adjusted as she labours. Discover how you respond to everyday stress and anxiety and apply that knowledge with your partner in your birth experience. Test out what you learned in prenatal class to see if those tools and techniques feel right for you. There is no right or wrong way to labour!
Do you think these easy-to-remember acronyms would be useful for you? There are several other acronyms that are taught in our Elite Doula Group childbirth education classes. The benefit of our prenatal series is the course is taught privately in your home and at your convenience. If you are looking for fun, interactive prenatal classes that cater to your learning style and comfort, give us a call!
Loree Siermachesky is a certified labour doula, pre-certified postpartum doula, certified Lamaze childbirth educator, certified breastfeeding counselor, certified placenta encapsulation specialist and a certified car seat technician. She has had the honour of attending over 1400 births in the last 20 years and is one of Alberta's most prominent doulas. She is well-known within the international doula community and greatly respected by the medical providers in Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Brooks, Taber, and Calgary. Her original business, Special Deliveries Doula Services, won the Medicine Hat Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year in 2013 and she was nominated as a Women in Business Inspire Award recipient in 2016. She is excited to expand her service area with Elite Doula Group Inc. into all parts of southern Alberta.