Question

“Thank you for this podcast, it has been so informative. I have a question about informed consent. It seems like everything my doctor does should require informed consent and a thorough explanation of the risks and benefits. The problem is that she doesn’t take the time to explain anything and when I ask questions I feel like she just brushes them off. I have done a lot of reading and listening to podcasts to educate myself and I want to make informed choices about my pregnancy. Shouldn’t informed consent be standard practice by all doctors? I am not sure if this is typical or if I should find a new doctor who is more willing to explain things. I am already 14 weeks and I do not know if I can change doctors at this point. Thank you for all you do on the podcast and I hope you have some advice that can help me.” – Lena

Answer

Informed consent is a basic component of communication between medical professionals and patients. True informed consent means you fully understand the procedure, intervention, or treatment, that you are aware of all of the risks and benefits, and you have the choice to opt in or opt out. The guidelines for this are defined by organizations like the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Even though it is a basic tenant of medical care, it isn’t always practiced ideally. There are challenges involved with the time and attention needed to give you true informed consent. As we are seeing a shift to more patient focused practices and a more evidence based approach to care we will hopefully see this become a bigger priority. Until then, this episode gives you some tips in finding the right care provider, how to make sure you are really informed before giving consent for procedures and interventions, and when you know you should switch to a new doctor or midwife.

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