BRAINED: A Better Decision Making Tool

December 15, 2017 - 3 minutes read

You might have heard of the acronym BRAIN when you have questions about your birth and the suggestions made by your team. It’s a time-tested tool that’s worked out alright and helped hundreds of families.

But as the world changes, we must adapt our understanding and improve our communication, so we decided to give BRAIN a little update.

BRAINED - a better version of the BRAIN model in birth

More specifically, the I in BRAIN has historically been taught as “Intuition”.

The problem with intuition in birth is that if you’ve already written a birth plan or decided what you think is best about a certain topic or event, your intuition tends to stick to that decision because your brain knows it as “the safest.”

Birth plans are learning tools, not road maps. We cannot predict exactly what will happen in labor. We need flexible decision making. If we understand that, logically, Y decision is safest but our gut is still hung up on “but X is what we want!!” it can create disconnect and discord for us emotionally.


Instead, we teach I as “Impact” here at PFB. 

What other information do I need to better understand this subject? If I choose what’s being recommended, what can I likely expect to happen next or as a result? How does it change what’s happening right now?

THESE questions give context to the situation and can help our intuition flex WITH our logical mind and guide us toward decisions that are right in the moment and with all of the information on the table that we maybe couldn’t have predicted before labor began.

We also have added -ED because in a delivery room, time does funny things. Sometimes it’s as slow as molasses and a minute feels like an hour. Other times, especially when there’s a change occurring, time feels crunched, like everything needs to be done right this very millisecond.

Usually, that’s not the case. Your doctor or midwife has lots of experience with birth. While emergencies do happen, usually your doctor or midwife wants to open up a dialogue BEFORE you get to that point. (They’ve got a whole lot of awesome experience, as it turns out )

If they’re willing to have a conversation, there’s likely some amount of time – whether that’s 5 minutes or two hours- that you can use to process, talk to your partner, etc. so that you are making a decision that you’re CONFIDENT about.

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