Remember Your BRAIN!
By the middle of your first trimester, you’re likely marveling at all the tests, procedures and interventions that are offered to detect
potential problems during pregnancy, either with mother or developing baby.
Now is the perfect time to remember to use your BRAIN. Using your BRAIN means asking these questions whenever you’re faced with a test, procedure or intervention:
Benefits: What are the benefits? What problem are we trying to solve or detect? How likely is it that this test/procedure/intervention will solve or detect the problem?
Risks: Tell me about the risks of this test/procedure/intervention. How likely are the risks to occur?
Alternatives: Are there any alternatives that may be less invasive? What are there any “second choices”? If there are alternatives, what are the benefits and risks of those alternatives?
Intuition: What does your gut tell you about the test/procedure/intervention that’s being offered? Don’t ignore your instincts! If you’re uncomfortable with any aspect, you need more information or more support. Ask your care provider for the information and help you need.
Nothing: If you elect to do nothing and choose to not use the test/procedure/intervention, what are the likely consequences? How
likely are the consequences? And, how do they compare with the risks of the test/procedure/intervention?
Asking your BRAIN questions are the first step in obtaining informed consent for any decision or choice you make, whether you’re meeting with your health care provider, or your mechanic. Making informed choices, where you’ve weighed the benefits and risks of each option, is the basis for making smart decisions that you’re happy with in the long term. And, it’s never too early to begin asking BRAIN questions. You’ll be making decisions throughout your pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, well-child visits, childcare arrangements, choosing kindergartens and beyond. So, build your trusting relationship with your care provider not by turning over the decision making to them (they really don’t want it), but by making your informed decisions and asking your care provider to provide information on all the risks, benefits, and alternatives of any test, procedure or intervention. Both you and your care provider will be glad you did.