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Carleen Mandwe


Informed Consent In Pregnancy: BRAIN

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

During pregnancy, it's essential to receive care that aligns with your wishes and goals. One way to make sure you receive such care is by asking B.R.A.I.N questions. These questions will help you understand your options, decide on a course of action, and ultimately, make an informed decision.


The first question to ask is: what are the benefits of this intervention? For instance, say your healthcare provider recommends an ultrasound. What are the benefits of having an ultrasound? Ultrasounds can detect any potential issues with fetal development or anomalies, which could lead to improved outcomes for your baby. On the other hand there are potential risks from the radiation such as developmental delays, anxiety, and cancer (discussed in separate post).


The second question to ask is: what are the risks associated with this intervention? For example, say your doctor recommends an induction. Asking them about the risks of induction will help you understand potential risks such as increased chances of a cesarean section.


The third question to ask is: what are the alternatives available? In some cases, there may be options other than what your healthcare provider suggests. For example, if your healthcare provider suggests a cesarean section for breech presentation, there may be alternative methods such as an External Cephalic Version (ECV). Both have benefits and risks.


The fourth question to ask is how you feel about the procedure or intervention. Listen to your intuition and ask yourself, does this feel right for you? If it doesn't feel appropriate or align with your beliefs, you may want to consider another option or ask more questions.

"What If I Do Nothing?"

Finally, ask yourself about the potential outcomes of doing nothing. What is the likelihood that doing nothing will lead to a negative outcome? This question can help you understand the severity of your condition and the level of intervention you may or may not be comfortable with.

In conclusion, asking BRAIN questions during pregnancy and labor is critical to making informed decisions about the care you receive. By understanding the Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, using your intuition, and asking “what if I do nothing,” you can have more control and knowledge over your pregnancy outcomes. Understand that you have the right to make informed decisions about your care and that these questions should be asked regularly during consultations with healthcare providers.

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