Decision Making During Labour

Decision Making During Labour


Labour and birth don’t always go as expected and it’s very useful to try not to be married to any one way of doing things. That said, writing a birth preferences/birth plan is also important as it gets you thinking about what you may like in any given situation.

Sometimes the situation changes, or complications arise during labour and your midwife may suggest a way to proceed. Your midwife may ask how you feel about ‘X, Y or Z’ and it can be hard to know how best to go forward.

It is of course fine to make your preferences known and, assuming it’s not an emergency situation, to ask as many questions as you wish to. Asking questions can help to make you feel at peace with your decision with couples feeling happier when the decision is an informed one, rather than one based around fear and the unknown.

Different midwives have different approaches and there is rarely just one way of doing something. It’s always worth asking the questions, if there is time. Below are some suggestions:

“What alternative is there to ‘X’ –  are there any other options we could consider?”

“How might what your suggestion affect me/my partner and our baby?”

“Would you please explain that a bit more?”

“Is my partner/baby OK?”


Another great questioning tool is the acronym BRAIN:

B: what are the benefits of ‘X’?

R: what are the risks of ‘X’?

A: what are the alternatives to ‘X’

I: what’s my intuition saying (i.e. I feel really well/I don’t feel so good)

N: what if we do nothing – can we have 5 minutes alone to chat through what you’ve just suggested (again, assuming it’s not an emergency situation)?


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