Saturday, January 19, 2008

BRAINED (aka Fun With Acronyms)

Pregnancy, birth, and parenting are filled with decisions: some vitally important, some trivial, some heartwrenching, and some enjoyable. When I was working as a doula, I would often show my clients the following acronyms for making decisions about their pregnancy and birth care. I believe that women are smart enough to make their own decisions. There is no need for coercion, manipulation, guilt trips, threats (subtle or otherwise), or appeals to authority (including mine!). They should research their options from a variety of sources and then carefully weigh their options.

Trying to make a decision? Get BRAINED!
Ask yourself, and your caregivers, these questions:
Benefits - How could the recommended course of action help me or my baby?
Risks - How could the recommended course of action harm me or my baby?
Alternatives - Are there any other courses of action I could consider?
Intuition - What are my gut feelings about this?
Nothing - What happens if I do nothing?
Evaluate - Can you give me some time to consider my choices? Then...
Decide - Now that I have the information I need, I'm ready to make a decision.

Benefits- How will this procedure benefit me and my baby?
Risks - What are the risks to me and my baby?
Alternatives - What are some other things we might try instead?
Instinct/Intuition - What is your gut telling you?
Now/Never/Nothing - What if we don't do the procedure right now? What if we never do it? What if we do nothing?
Safety/Satisfaction - Will this procedure increase the safety and satisfaction of the birth for me and my baby?

To give credit where it's due: the BRAINED acronym comes from a handout that someone gave me from "Lucina Birth Services." The BRAINS acronym was passed around on a doula list serve.


  1. Thanks for sharing those! I've only heard and use "BRAND" but I love the addition of "intuition".

    I recently found your blog through another blog. Just wanted to post and let you know I am really enjoying your posts and your wealth of knowledge! :)

  2. Thanks - those are great acronyms!

  3. Here's a good one - HBABS

  4. kb, I am sensing a lot of hostility from your posts ("home birth advocate b.s." is what I am guessing your acronym was meant to convey). You are welcome to ask questions, disagree, discuss, whatever--but I will not welcome pure meanness on my blog. This is your final warning.

    By the way, I would argue that this stuff isn't just "BS"--being informed of the risks, benefits, and alternatives of every single medical procedure, and allowing the woman to make the final decision, is not only an ethical foundation of medicine; it's a legal obligation.


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