Informed Consent

At your 41 week appointment or sometimes even earlier, you are likely to be told that you need to be booked in for an induction because going passed your due date increases the risk to your baby.

If you don't want to be induced - or even BOOKED to be induced - but feel unable to question the decision or decline, ask yourself why this is. What is happening in that meeting that makes you feel awkward about expressing your choice?

It's noone's fault. Thanks to our risk-averse culture, hospitals are under more legal pressure than ever to cover themselves. And it's really important to take this on, to fully appreciate the forces that are at work. As much as anything, the discussion women at term find themselves in is driven by routine procedure and hospital trust insurance policies. In other words, though the situation feels personal and pertinent, the recommendation that's being suggested is not necessarily based on YOUR health, at that particular moment in time. So it's important to be aware to what extent you are feeling uncomfortable - or even cornered. For example do you feel guilty, or like you're making a fuss to decline having that appointment 'put in the diary'.

For example, does reassurance like 'don't worry, you probably won't even need it' or 'it's just so that we've got you booked in,' make it really hard to say no thanks. In other words, question if you have actually agreed to what is being decided, or if a set of dynamics steered you to it. You may feel fine about being booked in but you may also feel stressed.

It's hard to wait patiently for a spontaneous, physical event when there's a deadline in the diary. Ticking clocks create tension and disable trust - the very trust that women need to let go to labour. So if you feel this way, be careful not to have your decision manufactured for you. Ask for printed up-to-date evidence of the risks you are being urged to consider, and in accordance with NICE guidelines on the subject, request some time to read it and consider your choices. This is informed consent.