Picture this: you're at your provider's office waiting for your first prenatal appointment.

You’re feeling a mix of excitement and nerves. Then comes in your provider with a lot of info, suggestions, and decisions to be made. 

It can be overwhelming, right? 

That's where informed consent comes in.

Informed consent is not just a fancy term; it's your right. It means fully understanding and agreeing to the care you're receiving, knowing all your options, the pros and cons, and feeling confident to say yes or no. It's about having a voice in your care. 

But how do you truly know, even if you like your doctor, if they’re practicing informed consent?

Typically, you can gather some clues along the way. Here are some things to consider! 

Baby being born at CMMC in Lewiston, Maine.

6 Hints, Tips, & Tricks to Know Your Provider Practices Informed Consent

  • They’re a great listener

Your provider should be all ears, listening to your thoughts, concerns, and wishes. It's about creating a two-way conversation, not a monologue.

  • You don’t feel rushed in your appointments 

They give you the time you need, never making you feel rushed or like you're just another appointment in their day. This includes taking the time to explain things in a way you understand.

  • You’ve been given options! 

A good sign of informed consent is when a provider explains all your options, not just the ones they prefer.

Important: this should include the benefits, risks, and alternatives.

  • Questions aren’t just tolerated, they’re welcomed 

You’re encouraged to ask questions and you get clear & honest answers. 

You should never feel silly or like a burden for asking!

  • You understand the risks and benefits of what’s going on with your care

A provider who uses informed consent will explain the potential risks and benefits of procedures, treatments, or medications, making sure you understand the full picture. 

  • You feel respected in your decisions 

Even if a provider doesn’t agree, you should always feel respected once you weigh the pros and cons and make a choice.

No one is perfect of course, but reading through these should give you an idea or a gut feeling if your provider practices informed consent!

To wrap up, here’s a simple example of informed consent when it comes to something routine like an ultrasound:

Informed Consent might sound like: “Based on where you are in your pregnancy, it's standard to consider an ultrasound. This can help us check on your baby's development, the position, and the placenta, among other things. 

It's a safe procedure, with no known risks to you or the baby, but it's entirely your choice. 

Some parents find it reassuring, while others prefer to minimize interventions. What do you think? 

Do you have any concerns or questions about having an ultrasound?”

Without informed consent might sound like: “It's time for your ultrasound. We'll schedule it for your next visit. It's just a routine check to make sure everything's okay.”

See the difference?

You have a right to informed consent and the right to change providers if yours doesn’t currently give you informed consent about the important decisions you’re making!

Looking for a Birth Photographer? Click here to see more of my Maine Birth Photography.