Do You Know the Risks?

So often we are told the benefits of procedures during pregnancy and birth, but how often are we given the risks associated with those procedures too? True informed consent means getting both and then being given the opportunity to consent or decline. The tricky part can be in not really understanding the options. How do you really know if you're getting all the information? Well, that's exactly what we break down for you in this episode!

Informed consent means that a provider explains the benefits and risks of a medication, procedure, (or lack of either), and then allows the mother to give consent.

Informed consent is NOT 

  • making you afraid to say no
  • telling you only the benefits and downplaying the risks
  • telling the mother, "I'm going to do ______". For example, "I'm going to preform a vaginal exam on you."

Our Top Tips for Informed Consent

Since providers may fail to give proper informed consent, you need to remember to use your B.R.A.I.N so that you can get the information you need to make an informed decision. When any procedure, medication, etc is presented to you, you need to know and understand the




Intuition (listen to your gut!)

No/need more time (not sure what to do? feeling pressured to respond? Simply say "No, thank you" OR "That gives me something to think about. Let me get back to you on that." 

*YOU CAN ALWAYS SAY NO! That is your right. It's your body.

Ask questions! Aim to have conversations with your provider about various procedures, meds, policies, etc early on & well before birth!

Things to keep in mind regarding informed consent during birth: you will likely be talking with your nurse most of the time, make sure you understand the policies, protocols, and procedures of your birthplace beforehand.

Get educated! Sometimes you don’t know what the risk is until you research it! In other words, you don’t know what you don’t know, and perhaps the info being given to you isn’t the whole story and you would like to know more.

Take the birth course and know what the risks are before speaking with a provider, and then see if they explain them. It can be a good test to see if your provider is giving informed consent!

Understand that providers generally practice in a way that is comfortable to them and safe for mom and baby, so make sure your styles, attitudes, and goals align!

Just because something is safe does not mean it will be your preferred way to birth. This matters.

Final Thoughts

Overall, we want you to have as much of a say and to be a full participant in the conversations and decisions regarding your birth. The more you know and understand about birth, the more questions you will likely have and the greater that will make the conversations with your provider. Choosing a provider you like and trust will play a big part in your communication as well as how you feel when your birth is over. Mutual respect between a provider and mother is crucial to a positive experience for both.

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ALL our best,



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