Make sure you fully understand all aspects of your antenatal and postnatal care, as well as your baby’s birth.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Knowing all the relevant information is part of informed clinical consent.
Questions for your doctor
- How often are the antenatal appointments, and what’s involved?
- What tests do you recommend, and at what stages of my pregnancy?
- What’s your approach to childbirth? What are my options regarding the birthing position and treatment regime?
- What do you think about interventions such as induction, episiotomy, vacuum and forceps delivery?
- What are my options for pain relief during labour?
- What happens if you’re not available for the birth?
- Are there any factors surrounding my pregnancy and general health that could impact the birth?
- If there are complications, is it possible that my baby or I will need to be transferred to another hospital?
- How long do you expect I’ll need to stay in hospital after the birth?
- Does the hospital offer home visits from midwives after I go home?
- How many support people can be present for the birth?
- What are the costs of prenatal care? Does this include the standard tests that you order? If not, what do they cost?
- What are the likely out-of-pocket medical expenses for the type of delivery I’m having and my hospital stay? (Your doctor should be able to give you a breakdown of any costs you’ll incur – this is known as ‘Informed Financial Consent’)
- Will there be an additional fee for an assistant surgeon? If so, what will it be?
- What extra costs will there be if I need to have an emergency caesarean?
- If I need an epidural or caesarean, will there be an additional fee for an anaesthetist? If so, what will it be?
Your obstetrician’s skills
- How many births do you perform each year?
- What percentage of your births require assisted delivery or end as unplanned caesareans?
- What percentage of your patients have an uncomplicated delivery?
- How long will it take for my tummy to shrink after the birth?
- Should I do pelvic floor exercises?
- How soon can I have sex after the birth?
- What kind of contraception do you recommend following the birth?
- Who should I contact if I have problems after I go home?
- Follow-up appointments (write down any questions or concerns you want to discuss with your obstetrician).
Tell your obstetrician about any medications you’re taking. Some can affect the health and development of your baby. Alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs can have adverse effects on both mothers and babies. Don’t forget to mention any complementary or herbal remedies you’re taking, as these can also affect you and your growing baby.
Print out this page to take to your appointment with your obstetrician