Within healthcare, it goes without saying that consent is of upmost importance when you are giving and receiving care. Most of us have seen the ‘consent is like a cup of tea’ video… if not here it is. But consent is not as simple as yes or no (don’t lose me here… I promise it is still simple!)
Consent is only proper consent if it is informed. Informed consent involves receiving all the information you need to make a decision about whether what is being offered/proposed is the right choice for you. It is about hearing the risks and benefits of accepting or declining something. If we stick with the tea idea, it would be like offering someone a cup of tea, … then passing it to them without the warning that it is really hot and could burn them.
Informed consent involves fully exploring the thing that is being offered, and this should include the other options available to you as well. So you have been offered tea, but what if you don’t like tea? You’ve never had tea before, so how do you know what it tastes like? Or maybe you just don’t want tea. Well, turns out there is coffee and hot chocolate available too! (the tea analogy is a real winner…)
In regards to pregnancy, everything offered to you (as routine as it may seem) should still be presented as a choice you are making. This relates to blood tests, scans, screening etc. Nearly all of the time these are things that are recommended to promote the health and wellbeing of you and your baby. But not every intervention is right for everyone, and it is ok to decline aspects of care if you feel that is the right decision for you.
Informed consent applies to any interaction you have with a healthcare practitioner. There is no one size fits all approach, and only you can make decisions relating to your body.