Informed consent is a very important topic in a hospital setting. Possibly THE most important topic.
It’s the process of giving a patient all the information about a procedure or therapy and making sure the patient understands and agrees to the said procedure. It does not have to be written consent!
“An informed consent can be said to have been given based upon a clear appreciation and understanding of the facts, implications, and consequences of an action. Adequate informed consent is rooted in respecting a person’s dignity.” (Wikipedia)
Unfortunately, informed consent isn’t always obtained. Sometimes things happen very quickly, especially during an unpredictable event like birth. As providers, it can be helpful to try to anticipate any upcoming procedure and discuss it with the patient before it becomes an emergency.
This is why birth plans are important too! You can outline clearly what you would like so that everyone is on board, even in an emergency.
It’s important to note, that patients can refuse ANYTHING. Your provider might strongly recommend something and maybe you need some more clarifications before proceeding. But you don’t always have to agree.
Ask ALL the questions, there are no silly questions when it comes to the birth of your baby. This is your body and you have the right to know EVERYTHING. You can and should be in control.
Did you know about informed consent?
Do you feel like it was given during your care?
Originally posted 2021-04-22 22:34:54.
20 CommentsLeave a Reply
How does this factor in with corona? I’m delivering any day now and I’m terrified they’ll separate me from my baby if I test positive or something
This is so important in medicine and in research. It takes time but it’s the most ethical thing to do.
It’s an outrage that health providers don’t offer up the information we need to be informed. As a first time mom you don’t always know what questions to ask!
Had a terrible birth experience when last minute changes needed to birth my son safely. The resident was down right rude to me and didn’t explain all the risks using clamps because he wanted to use them as opposed to other options vacuum and c-section. My son was born very bruised and with palsy of right arm not to mention how I suffered fourth degree tears , needed a blood transfusions and heart issues from the physical trauma of being in labour for 25 hours. I am 2 weeks post birth and have at least another 6 weeks of recovery. Thankfully my sons arm is working but the emotional trauma of the birth experience has left me scarred, feeling brutalized and abused by the system. The doctors were terrible and the only compassionate interactions and care were with the nurses. I’ll never have a child at ‘this hospital again’ and it’s one of the most ‘reputable’ for giving birth in Toronto.
It never ceases to amaze me… As part of my degree, I spent months studying consent, ascent, and policy. I feel lucky to be educated in the subject as I know many don’t have the in-depth knowledge and may not feel right advocating for themselves.
For my first birthing experience, I lived elsewhere. The L&D nurse was actually the issue! My OB was fantastic. While I knew I would be having an induction, I asked to receive meds at 1/2 speed, just to see how my body would react (shocker: it wasn’t a fun experience). The L&D nurse became indignant while placing the line, then dissing the drip and said “oh, so you don’t want an induction?!!” When I reiterated my wishes, she left the room in a huff saying she’d go get the doctor. I was shocked by how unprofessional she was… luckily my OB just kind of laughed off the situation (in front of me) and said, “well, yeah. Of course we can do that!” The L&D nurse was visibly annoyed, but luckily complied and left a few hours later (shift change, baby!). I recently went into my midwife’s office to be checked to see if my waters were leaking. I, obviously, consented to an internal check, however did not realize that the midwife would be using a speculum (I thought I was consenting to a physical check). It was quite a shock and I wasn’t sure what to say as we we’re obviously mid-procedure.
My waters were not leaking, but the situation serves as a nice reminder to, as a provider, audibly state what procedure you will be performing and any instruments you will be using, but, also, for me as a patient to ask more questions about what is happening.
I left the appointment feeling violated and slightly upset, but did not advocate for change – I actually really like this particular midwife.
Sure she did! Right as she cut into me to give me an episiotomy that I did not agree to while I had zero pain medication. The look on her face when I screamed in agony said it all, “I just messed up” BUT did she ever apologize? Or ever show her face after that ever again? Nope.
Informed consent is not high priority for medical professionals. This priority gets even lower as you travel farther outside the Western works, and goes down to almost zero if you are in a male dominated society. I was given no options, they were given to my husband, and the options were :”csection the baby is in distress.” Even though there was a high chance I could’ve delivered, as the baby was in the birth canal as I was being wheeled in the OR. I delivered in another country, not my own, where they didn’t think I spoke the language, (I do) and i feel that if they could have delivered the baby workout me, it would have been preferable to everyone on the team. I need to educate myself also on staying calm to support myself in a time of high stress. It’s my health care, but I am not a medical professional, and cannot be expected to know everything that could happen. However, I think the minimum of a doctor should be to give me the respect of informed options.
I switched from an OB to midwifery care at 16 weeks because I felt like I was being rushed out of appointments by the OB who was always running at least 45 minutes late in the first place. My midwives explain everything to me and always ask if I have questions. They also ask about my mental health at each visit. I’m so glad I switched!
No one told me, but a woman I know who is an a doula told me if they pushed for anything I could refuse. Sure enough when I went into my room to give birth the midwife tried to talk me into taking Pitocin to spur the process along and I just politely refused. I wanted an all natural birth and was afraid that I’d take it back! Never took it and I was in labor for just 12 hrs and pushed my son only for 20 mins. 💕
I have to contact my birth center to find out when they gave me pitocin, during labor or to get my placenta out. I only know because it’s with on my birth summary that I was given a copy of. Not one midwife said anything about giving me pitocin. All I had asked for was IV pain medication. Informed
This is so important!!!
When I had a VBAC I asked about opting out of continuous fetal monitoring and my midwife told me that while she understood it was the hospital policy for a VBAC and we wouldn’t be able to go against it. How do you navigate a situation like that?
My provider attempted to turn my baby who was asynclitic with her whole hand in me WITHOUT asking for my consent. It was the most painful and scary minute of my life. I only knew what she was doing after when my doula told me. We were both so shocked. I’ve had to seek counseling to heal from the birth trauma I experienced. All providers need to be trauma informed and consent is a huge part of that!
Informed consent is highly lacking in the medical community. Medical manipulation is a real issue. Know your rights and never ever be alone in any medical setting. You always need to have a strong none emotionally involved party to watch over you and make sure your wishes are met. A lot of policies are about making the situation easier for the provider not the patient. So speak up! It’s your healthcare not theirs.
🙌🙌 Such an important topic!!
I took a hypnobabies course in person, and my instructor was HUGE on informed consent! She gave us so much beautiful information about almost everything that might possibly involved but the biggest thing I left with was that we don’t NEED to let a provider do ANYTHING, and even if hospital policy says “you have to” we still have the right to sign off and say we declined.
This is so important for patients to know! So many people feel like they don’t have much choice when it comes to the medical system and how the information is presented. Thanks for sharing 🤗
The only informed consent I got was when they were just about to give me a c section. And I think that was just because I had to sign papers for it. I had a lot of interventions during my birth that were not explained to me, or I was straight up lied to. I also tried to deny the pitocin at first and I was told basically I had no choice. I truly feel if I had all the information and I was listened to that I could have avoided the c section. Live and learn I guess!
With my first I definitely did not realize I could decline anything, but luckily had a doctor who was understanding and always explained things, so I have a pleasant memory of that labor/delivery even though it did not go according to plan at all. Currently 39 weeks pregnant and my doctor always takes the time to explain to me every detail. I even told her at my last appointment “i know you guys can’t make me do anything I don’t want to do” and her response was to laugh and say “you are absolutely right! You have to consent to everything!” ❤️ I’ve been very fortunate with my doctors.