Note: This article was originally posted in our Autumn 2018 newsletter, and has not been updated.
Providing Informed Choice on Pain Management
Clients may initially choose not to have pain medication as part of their birth plan but may change their minds as their labour progresses. Clients may experience confusion and frustration if a certain method of pain management cannot be provided at the time of their request. In addition to conducting an informed choice discussion in the prenatal period with clients about intrapartum pain management, midwives can create client handouts to provide to clients. The handout can address available pain management options during labour (at home or in hospital), the potential benefits and risks of the available pain management options and how external factors, such as hospital policy and staffing, could interfere with pain management being provided at the time of a client’s request.
Relevant Professional Standards:
15. Support clients to be active participants in managing their own health and the health of their newborns
16 Recognize clients as the primary decision-makers and provide informed choice in all aspects of care by:
16.1 Providing information so clients are informed when making decisions about their care
16.2 Advising clients about the nature of any proposed treatment, including the expected benefits, material risks and side effects, alternative courses of action, and likely consequence of not having the treatment
16.4 Allowing Clients adequate time for decision-making