Informed Choice vs. Informed Consent: What's the diff?

Throughout your course of prenatal care you will likely come across the words “informed choice” and “informed consent”, and although they may sound similar, they are actually two very different models of care.

The following image illustrates the differences and how they are practiced:

Module 1, "Prenatal Education for a Fulfilling Birth" ecourse

In a nutshell, with INFORMED CONSENT, your provider presents you with THEIR recommendation for a particular test, procedure, intervention etc. In essence, you are consenting to their plan of your care. If you don’t consent, you may have to sign a refusal to treat to release the provider of liability.

With INFORMED CHOICE, you are given ALL the options in the moment and you may have no clue what your provider recommends, although that can be a part of the decision making. This model really respects your autonomy and trusts you can make your own decisions, like the adult that you are.

Keep in mind BOTH models require you to be INFORMED, which means knowing the benefits, risks and alternatives that make up a truly informed decision. If you don’t have those components, it can’t be informed.

In Ontario midwifery, informed choice is a pillar of the care that women receive, but it’s not as well supported in other models of care, where you might have to wait 2 hours to see your Doctor for a 5-10 minute visit. In these situations, the onus is really on you to do your research if you want to know your options.

If you are pregnant or plan to be, what are your plans for prenatal education?

Have you even thought about it yet?

Join the ‘THRIVE on’ Community, where we dig into evidence-based prenatal education, as well as my other passion of urban homesteading. This is a protected space for intentional relationship-building, where you can find local women who share your passion for advocacy in pregnancy, as well as intentional living.

My E-course “Prenatal Education for a Fulfilling Birth” was created to empower you and your family to position yourselves at the center of your care, and I am fully convinced you all have the power within yourselves to advocate for your family and have a fully satisfying birth. Click HERE to learn more.

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