Informed Decision-Making

It is your right to make an informed decision about how you feed your baby, and it is important to have all the facts so that you can decide what is best for you, your baby and your family. We will support you in whatever decision you make.

What does making an informed decision mean?

Making an informed decision involves having a discussion with your healthcare provider and reviewing trustworthy sources of information that results in you feeling confident in your understanding about the topics. This includes understanding:

  • The risks and benefits to you and your baby
  • The alternatives
  • Future consequences

It’s important that you come to a decision that feels right for both you and your baby.

Why is informed decision-making important?

Every person is an individual with different values and preferences. These values and preferences are important factors in making decisions in every aspect of your life, including medical decisions. “The decisions you make and the maternity care that you receive can have lasting effects on the health and well-being of your baby, yourself, and your family” - Childbirth Connection, 2013.

How can I actively participate?



Video: Shared Decision Making Animated Short

Healthcare providers offer information to help you make informed decisions; however, it’s important that you are an active decision‐maker in the care you receive by: 

  • Discussing your wishes and expectations with your healthcare provider
  • Asking questions if you don’t understand something
  • Asking your healthcare provider (and other members of your healthcare team) about their care practices and preferences

How do I ensure I am making informed decisions?

When discussing your pregnancy, labor, birth and infant feeding options with your care provider, use B-R-A-I-N:

  • Benefits: How will this help my baby? How will this help me?
  • Risks: How will this affect my baby? How will this affect me?
  • Alternatives: What are my other options including doing nothing? How will this affect my baby? How will this affect me?
  • Instinct/Intuition: What is your inner voice telling you?
  • No or Not Now: What if we don’t do the procedure right now? What if we do nothing? Use language such as “I need time to think this decision through” or “I need a private moment to talk with my family”. You have the right to informed refusal.