Informed Consent in Pregnancy

Before you undergo any procedure regarding your pregnancy, your doctor will ask you to sign a piece of paper saying you understand what your doctor has told you about suggested care and that you agree with the options offered.  

Signing an informed consent agreement is supposed to indicate you understand and have all the information you need to make decisions about your health care and pregnancy. However, patients now might not know that your informed consent isn’t just about this piece of paper, it’s a process that is aimed to empower you with the information you need to make the best decisions for yourself and for your baby.  

What Is Informed Consent? 

Informed consent is a process where the healthcare provider discusses with you the proposed medical treatment and its possible consequences, including risks, benefits, and alternative treatments. The information is provided to you so you can choose the treatment you prefer. The healthcare provider may prefer one of the options and you another. Your doctor is ethically bound to support you in your decision even if your doctor believes that your choice of care in this instance isn’t in your best interest.  

The American College and Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) details a six-part process, two steps for you and four steps for your physician. The two key features of your consent are as follows: 

  1. Comprehending and understanding your treatment options, and 
  2. Letting your healthcare provider know the treatment option you choose.  

On the other hand, your doctors need to keep these key components in mind: 

  1. They are obliged to help you. This is your right as the patient. 
  2. They need to present a list of treatment options without bias, 
  3. They  do no harm to you, and 
  4. They support you in your choice of treatment options even if they think another would serve you better.   

Making Clarifications 

Informed consent, especially in pregnancy, depends upon how much information about your choices you understand. Informed consent also covers informed refusal. You doctor should tell you the risks of not having the recommended treatment.  

If you do not understand a certain treatment option, please ask your doctor to explain even the smallest details. This isn’t the time to be shy about asking questions of your healthcare provider.  

You Will Have Many Choices in Pregnancy 

I write blog posts and do podcasts about the kinds of choices women have in their pregnancies so they can ask the right questions—and give informed consent— to their choices they have selected with the help of their doctors. I know many women find it hard to ask questions of doctors. My intent is to give women the courage to advocate for themselves during their pregnancy.  

For more information about informed consent, please see my podcast. Aside from this blog post, I also discussed the importance of informed consent in my podcast.  

Please feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel, Rural Doc Alan 

If you are looking for a place to ask your questions about pregnancy and delivery in a safe environment, please visit my supporter site or check out my FaceBook supporter group, Safe Pregnancy Advice. 


Dr. Alan Lindemann

Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB/GYN)​

He is an obstetrician and maternal mortality expert with 4 decades of medical practice beginning in Minnesota and presently in North Dakota. He has delivered around 6,000 babies with zero maternal deaths.

Why should you support Rural Doc Alan?

Dr. Lindemann delivered 6000 babies for over 40 years with no maternal mortalities, no eclampsia, and no babies with cerebral palsy. He tells his story here of how he did this in a medical environment that really doesn’t do well with deliveries. He openly admits that much he learned about safe pregnancy came from his patients, not medical books. Donating here will help spread the word to women everywhere so they can learn about safe pregnancy.