When I was pregnant with my first, we took a Lamaze class — and I got a great list of “informed consent” questions. The idea is that, particularly with labor and delivery, a lot of things happen quickly, and frequently you’re only half giving informed consent because you’re so exhausted, in pain, and more. I didn’t end up asking any of these with my first delivery (although I wish I had!); but we did take a printout of this list with us to the birth of our second son — I made sure my husband and I both knew where it was, and it calmed us both down a bit. (Had we gone with a doula for either pregnancy I might not have felt the need, and trusted she would know enough about the situation, the hospital, alternatives, and more — but every hospital I delivered at only allowed two people in the delivery room with you, and I always wanted my husband and mother with me!)
I still keep the list in my iPhone, to be honest — if ever anyone I know were to be in a health emergency it feels like a list I’d want to have.
Informed Consent Questions
1. Is this an emergency, or do we have time to talk?
2. What would be the benefits of doing this?
3. What would be the risks?
4. If we do this, what other procedures or treatments might we end up needing as a result?
5. What else could we try first or instead?
6. What would happen if we waited an hour or two (a day or two, a week or two, etc.) before doing it?
7. What would happen if we didn’t do it at all?
Ladies, have you gotten similar lists from your Lamaze teachers, doctors, NPs or midwives? Is there anything that helped you feel like you were giving fully informed consent for everything in the hospital?