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B.R.A.C.E. Yourself | Giving you confidence in the world of tests and decision making

Knowledge is powerful.

Congratulations on your pregnancy and welcome to the confusing world of tests, decisions, questions and advice.

As you enter the new realms of parenthood you may be overwhelmed with questions and decisions that need to be made.

I hope to empower you with knowledge. Not to answer your questions but to give you some strategies to support you to make your own decisions, ensuring you are not persuaded to do things you are not sure about and to be confident in challenging the sometimes over powering health professionals.

I am a health professional. I was a midwife for many years and had protocols to follow. Some of these protocols may be out-dated and do not necessarily follow current evidence, others may not be clearly known by the relative health professional and they follow ‘practice based protocols’ ("we’ve always done this, so it is ok!") and others may have instructions from higher up. Whatever the situation there are some key things to remember:

1) This is your pregnancy and your baby

2) You have the right to say no

3) You are entitled to ask questions

4) You have the right to be fully informed of all aspects – positive and negative in a language you understand

This sounds easy, but when you are feeling vulnerable and with those pregnancy hormones racing around, it is not. So here are some pointers to help you navigate your way to get an outcome you are happy with.

1) Smile and take a deep breath

2) Ask for a few minutes before you answer any question you are not sure about

3) Then ask your questions – do not give a ‘yes or no’ until you have all the information you need to make your decision

B.R.A.C.E. yourself

To prepare you, here are some things to remember when you are faced with any decisions regarding your pregnancy or your newborn infant.

B – Benefits What are the benefits?

It is important to assess what these mean for you. What would you do with the information that you receive? What benefits does it bring to you, personally?

R – Risks What are the risks?

What may be deemed as risky for one, may not be the same for another – it is important to have all facts so you can make your own decision.

A – Alternatives Are there any alternatives?

Usually there are alternatives and if the health professional is not aware of any, go away and do your own research.

C – Confidence Be confident with the decision you are making

You need to have confidence in the decision you are making – that it is yours and you are not being pressured into doing something you are not happy with.

E - Emotions Emotions can influence our decisions

Your gut reaction is often right, but take a few minutes before making a final decision

If you are unsure – ask

If you are sure – decide and don’t look back

Your decision is the right one for you and your baby at this time

Janet X


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