Wednesday, March 11, 2009

From Lamaze: "Making Tough Decisions Without All the Facts"

I received this press release* from Lamaze International in my email inbox today and I am including it here because it highlights the importance of informed consent. Expectant families should not assume that the information needed to give true informed consent will necessarily be offered, should medications or medical procedures be recommended during labor and birth.

Making Tough Decisions Without All the Facts: How Inadequate Informed Consent Puts Childbearing Families at Risk

WASHINGTON (March 10, 2009)—Imagine you are a woman in labor and your doctor tells you that electronic fetal monitoring is necessary to record your baby’s heartbeat. Without any further information about the monitoring or its risks, you are given a consent form to sign. Believing the doctor is doing what is best for you and your baby, you sign. By neglecting to tell you that electronic fetal monitoring can result in labor complications and increases the need for cesarean surgery, your doctor has not held up his or her end of the informed consent process.

This shocking scenario plays out nationwide thousands of times a day across a range of procedures. The purpose of informed consent is to ensure that before a health professional or researcher does something to a patient’s body, the patient must understand what is being done and give his or her voluntary consent. But in all aspects of medical care, informed consent can fall short of the mark. In the instance of childbirth, women and their partners may be asked to make decisions without being well-informed of the risks and potential outcomes that can affect moms and babies.

“The fact that health care providers, whom society has been taught to trust, are neglecting to fully inform parents about risks associated with various procedures and interventions during childbirth is inexcusable,” says Judith Lothian, RN, PhD, LCCE, FACCE, co-author of The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth With Confidence.

A recent article published in The Journal of Perinatal Education reveals how sub-par information provided by health care providers undermines the purpose of informed consent. This results in parents having incomplete information when making decisions with potentially grave implications, such as whether or not to use medication or submit to obstetrical procedures during childbirth. The Milbank Report, Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Achieve, found inadequate informed consent processes to be a major barrier to women benefiting from evidence-based maternity care.

Lamaze International, an organization committed to ensuring childbearing families have access to information on the benefits of healthy birth practices, offers resources to help parents talk to their health care providers. Free tools include the Lamaze...Building Confidence Week by Week weekly e-mail series and the award-winning Lamaze: Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond magazine to help parents speak to their health care providers about a range of pregnancy and birth related issues.

*Does anyone know if it's okay to a copy press release like this, into a blog? What's the copyright protocol?

Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine
New Mothers Support Circle

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are totally fine to cut and paste the press release. In the future, you may want to delete the contact information for the press contact, so they are not bombarded with questions from people who are not journalists.

March 13, 2009 at 5:41 PM  

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