I was looking this morning at the survey carried out by AIMS Ireland on consent during pregnancy and what percentage of women felt that they had been asked for consent and had been briefed on the benefits/risks and potential outcomes of treatments during pregnancy.
Usually I make very clear decisions on my health, I make sure I am informed, I decide what treatment option best suits me. I don’t always take prescribed medications if I don’t feel I need them. I don’t always take the doctors word as gospel.
During my pregnancies however the fear of harming my baby by not doing the right thing led me to lean more on doctors opinion’s than I would normally do. Whatever they said was best for my baby I did. When I was in labour I handed most of my care decisions over to the medical staff, because they were the experts and because all I wanted was my baby to arrive safely. I didn’t care about the cost to my own body.
After my last labour the doctor recommended a drug to help shrink down my womb. After four attempts to place an IV, I refused to have them keep trying. The midwives checking my stomach felt everything was ok, I felt ok and the drug was just a precaution, recommended by a doctor who saw me for 5 minutes after the birth. I was happy to refuse. I am also 100% certain that if the baby had still been in my belly I would have allowed them to puncture both my arms over and over in an attempt to place an IV.
There is a huge responsibility on doctors and nurses who care for pregnant women to make sure that the women they are working with are aware of and happy with decisions that are being made. I think women are at their most vulnerable in that way when they are pregnant, they are least likely to take chances with the health of their unborn babies. Do we really take the time to make sure we are informed or do we just nod and agree with everything the doctors and nurses say our babies need?