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decision-making in pregnancy

Decision-Making for Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond

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Decision-Making for Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond

Did you know it is your legal right to give or deny permission for care? That means it is your responsibility to make informed decisions for yourself and on behalf of your baby. But how do you know what is best for you and your baby? This article discusses the five “whats” to ask and how to get precise information to make informed decisions. 

I want what is best for my baby

Let’s be honest: we can only predict so much when it comes to giving birth. So, being informed as much as possible can help you deal with the unexpected. That means do your homework. Research and talk to your care provider about the risks and benefits of childbirth before labor begins. Don’t just google; find evidence-based information you can share with your provider. Create a birth plan, and have a plan b in place. Communicate with your birth team, which means your care provider also. Make sure everyone is on the same page so they can make the decisions you want for you when you can’t.

 YOU HAVE A VOICE, even if your advocate is speaking for you. Stay in communication with your care provider about options. Yes, they want you to have what is best, but sometimes providers give options that work best for them, not you. For example, labor is long, and they want to get to a football game, so they suggest induction. Your instincts and prior research tell you it is NOT medically necessary, so you ask for other options instead of just going against your wishes to make the provider happy. Many times, providers offer the most expensive route. Don’t give in; know you have a choice and a right to do what is best for you and your baby. 

This journey is not a race; good maternity care helps and guides you, not pushes you through it as quickly as possible. 

Informed Consent

You hear the words “informed consent” a lot nowadays, especially regarding a medical procedure, drug, test, or other medical treatments. Today’s medical providers are adapting  more to the “patient’s viewpoint” than the “clinician’s.” This is incredible for us! Studies have shown that having clear information given to us and the right to decide on how we feel is best for US improves quality care outcomes. That is vital for mom and baby in the maternity setting. 

So, what is informed consent? It simply means your care provider better explains the risks, benefits, and alternatives. This process between you and your care provider helps you decide what is done with the best information possible. Informed consent allows you to be in the know instead of your care provider telling you what will be done. 

Take a Moment and Plan

When you are in a position where you need to make an important decision, stop a second, take a deep breath, and think. This also means your birth team is doing the same thing, especially if they are your voice at that moment. Parents often mistakenly think they need to make a quick decision without the ability to gather all the information. In most cases, you have a minute to stop and think. Don’t let anyone keep you from that! Calmly make a plan, weigh out your options, follow your instinct, and make your decision. 

Yes, there might come a moment when a decision needs to be made at that very moment; that is when you go back to your birth plan and trust your prior decisions during your research. 

What if you don’t have the luxury of either option? That is where you follow your instinct. Always, always, always trust your instincts! Remind your birth partner to do the same thing. 


decision-making support

The 5 "whats" to ask

  1. What are my benefits?
  2. What are my risks?
  3. What are my alternatives?
  4. What is we didn’t do anything?
  5. What is my intuition in this?

Statements/Questions to Consider

When sitting down to research, again, don’t just blindly google. Find scholarly articles or evidence-based research. Ask your provider for resources, and talk with them. 

Trust your resources and ask these questions or state these comments when finding the answers to your five “what” questions.

  • Is this medically necessary and can I have a minute to discuss this?
  • I want to do what is best for my baby
  • If you can show me the medical evidence that is based, I can consider it as a viable option.


Bottom line is that everything happens for a reason, and even if the outcome isn’t what we hoped or planned, down the road, we will know it worked out for the best. Have faith in yourself, keep communication clear, and get all the facts so you can be in the know and feel you made the best decision possible! Your care is for you and your baby; that means YOU are the one who makes that decision!

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I am Leah. Welcome to The Loving Cedar LLC. Here is where you will find parenting tips and tricks to help you simplify life.


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