Consent in obstetrics


      Medical consent, the process of agreeing the benefits and risks of a treatment or procedure, has specific challenges in pregnancy and labour. Consent should take the form of a discussion about risk and include the alternatives. It should be an ongoing process with the right to withdraw consent or seek further information if the person chooses. Ideally all risks to which the patient might attach significance should be discussed. To consent, a person must have capacity. It is accepted that while labour can involve stress, pain, and fatigue, and will not infrequently be in a time-critical situation, women will normally retain the capacity to consent. This includes the right to make decisions outside of societal norms or which put at risk the life of herself or unborn child. In rare circumstances where an incapacitated woman requires medical intervention in pregnancy this should be done in accordance with appropriate legislation acting in the best interests of the mother.


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