Your birth experience will remain with you forever, women are often able to recall the birth of their children when other memories have faded. You want these memories to be pleasant and to bring you joy. The health care experience you are provided during your child’s birth will play a heavy role in this birth experience.
As a human, as a mom, and most importantly in this case, as a patient you have certain rights, the right to informed decisions. Informed decisions are defined as the right to agree or disagree to having a procedure done after receiving adequate information about risks, benefits, and other alternatives.
All patients, if oriented and competent legally have the right to refuse or consent to any medical treatment option. They have the right to ask questions and to be educated on the procedures being contemplated in order to make an “informed decision.”
While a care provider may not give you complete details (they are probably trying to spare you the gore) you have the rights to ask any questions you feel necessary to make your decisions before deciding on any procedures that should be done.
The Basics of Informed Decisions:
Informed consent: agreeing to a procedure after making an informed decision. This occurs after receiving education/information of what will and can happen if procedure is completed.
Shared decision making: decision making shared between patient and care provider. Pros/Cons are weighed, questions are answered and options are discussed.
YOU CAN REFUSE - care can not be given unless caregiver provides information AND you consent
It helps to have an understanding of what the side effects, potential risks or alternative procedures are when you are learning about your options.
Your care provider should explain what’s going on (your condition/diagnosis), recommended treatment, possible risks, alternative options, and chances for success.
Now, obviously, if you’re getting ready to deliver your baby, you’ll most likely have spoken with your care provider about the above options and are very aware of what will be going on during labor. Use your prenatal care visits to learn and prepare yourself for the time at the hospital. Your doula, childbirth education courses and prenatal visits can be really good resources for getting your questions about labor and delivery answered.