Presentation Information

Diana Snyder

Informed Consent in Maternity Care: Law, Ethics and Practice

  • Speaker: Diana Snyder , JD
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 CME, 0.1 Midwifery CEU

Informed consent is a fundamental legoethical concept in medicine, and pregnant people are not an exception. Unfortunately, data and experience indicate that pregnant and laboring patients are not getting informed consent, and often, are not consenting to care rendered at all. In this presentation, we will discuss the basics of informed consent and the right to decline recommended medical treatment, and the limited exceptions to these basic rules of law and ethics. We will discuss how the law views non-consented care, and lack of informed consent as a serious risk management issue. We will discuss common barriers to informed consent in the obstetric setting, and dismantle common misconceptions, including the ideas that maternity staff have ‘two patients,’ that concepts ‘safety’ and ‘maternal-fetal conflict’ are definable, that ‘safety’ and respect for patient rights are mutually exclusive, and that women forfeit their rights to decision-making if they disagree with their doctors. Finally, we will consider ways in which hospital providers can strive to build a culture of informed consent and respect for patient rights within their practice environments, and the ways this can promote, rather than detract from, risk management in maternity care.