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Difficult Medical Decision? 4 Steps to Make the Right Choice

When you have a high-risk pregnancy you often find yourself making difficult decisions during a very stressful time.

Do I take medication for a nasty cold?

Should I get a cerclage or not?

Is it wise to be on bed rest at home or in the hospital?

Every decision feels like it carries tremendous weight because of the impact that that it could have on you and your baby. Even with the best medical care team advising you as best as they can, you're nervous.

It's completely understandable.

The problem, though, is that anxiety affects the way you process information when it comes to making a decision. (Tweet that!)

Anxiety can leave you paralyzed and this inability to choose can add to your stress levels creating a feedback loop that perpetuates the anxiety and decision-making paralysis.

Combat the anxiety

The key is to combat the anxiety to clear your head so you can take in all of the information that you need to make the best decision for you and your family.

By taking a systematic approach to decision-making, you can make your decision with confidence without all the doubt. (Tweet that!)

The 4-step system

Be clear about the decision you have to make.

Why do you have to make the decision that you're faced with? And when you need to have your choice made by?

Often times the reason we have trouble making a decision is because we don't completely understand what the decision is.

Review your options.

Write them down if it helps to see your options visually.

Then make a list of the benefits and risks of each option.

This information should come from your conversation with your doctor.

For example, if you are in the process of deciding whether you need a cerclage or not, think about what your options are.

  • What type of cerclage has your doctor advised?

  • What are the benefits and what are the risks?

  • Are there other alternatives to managing a short cervix other than a cerclage?

Identify your values

All of the decisions that you make must be in line with your personal values and your family values in order for you to feel confident about the choice you make. (Tweet that!)

Be clear about which benefits and risks matter to you most.

There is no right or wrong answer, just an honest answer about your values and beliefs.

For example, what do you value more highly, a pregnancy with minimal interventions or taking preventative action even if it means undergoing invasive treatments?

Bring your doctor in

When you go through this decision-making process you'll understand what more you need to know to be able to make a decision. Then, go back to your doctor and ask more questions.

At this point also, share your values with your doctor. Help them understand how your personal and family values impact the decision that you will make.

This will open a dialogue for you and your doctor to discuss options that align with your values and are are based on your doctor's professional expertise.

The speedy version

The reality is that with a high-risk pregnancy sometimes you need to make a decision within a few days or in that moment.

In those instances, try this:

Take a deep breath, calm your mind and go through these 4 steps one-by-one in your mind, with your partner or with your doctor in the exam room.

By doing this, you'll be able to make a confident decision so you're not plagued with doubt about whether it was the right choice.

Want more?

If you have trouble making choices during your high-risk pregnancy and feel like you freeze from anxiety, worrying whether you're making the right decision, check out the Delivering Hope Session to replace the doubt with clarity and confidence.

Your Turn!

What choices have you struggled with making during your high-risk pregnancy? Leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

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