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Articles : Pregnancy and Childbirth
Informed Consent: Back to Articles
by Lauren Feder, M.D.

Informed Consent
In our country, we pride ourselves on the ability to offer women the most sophisticated obstetrical healthcare in a state of the art environment.   At various stages of pregnancy, different testing is done, some of it is routine while others are elective, which means you have a choice.  Quite often, many women do not know much about the tests or procedures, relying instead on their practitioners with an assumption that the information one receives is beneficial and harmless. As a result, many women have undergone testing without full consideration of all the implications.  
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that practitioners provide a patient with information about tests and procedures so she can make a decision based on informed consent.  Often practitioners assume patients understand all the details about the tests.  On ethical grounds, patients are supposed to be given information in a format that is easily understood and without obligation.  Before undergoing any test or procedure ask yourself the following questions:

What does the test screen or diagnose for? 
•Do I understand what the test or screening is for?
•Is it necessary, routine or elective?
•What are the risks and benefits of the test to the mother and the baby?
•Have I been informed about similar or alternative tests? If so, what are the risks?
•Do I know how the test is administered?
•If the test result is unfavorable, what are the implications and choices?

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