How to have conversations with Health Care Professionals

Pregnancy | | HiPP Organic


Talking to health professionals can be daunting. They have so much experience, and you know you are just one of many patients they are seeing that day. However, it’s important to remember that they are there to offer advice and support and to answer any questions you have throughout your pregnancy. Your antenatal care is a priority, so don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and your baby.

What questions should you ask?

When you attend a booking in appointment with your midwife, they will run through a number of questions about your health, family history, previous pregnancies, etc. Their aim is to get a picture of your risk factors, so that they can design the right care path for you. However, this appointment is also an opportunity for you to ask your questions.

For example, you might want to know what appointments you can expect throughout your pregnancy; when you will be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat; any foods to avoid; what exercise you are safe to carry out, and so on.

If you have a choice of hospitals, your midwife will probably want you to say which one you intend to give birth at – or, if you plan to have a home birth, which one you will attend for ultrasound scans, etc. You could use this appointment to ask the midwife to explain the pros and cons of every option, and what would happen if you were to choose a home birth.

Knowing your rights

As a pregnant mother, you have the right to choose where to give birth and who to have with you when you give birth. You also have the right to physical autonomy and integrity – meaning you should be asked for your consent to treatment, unless you are medically unable to give consent.

This sounds intimidating, but what it means in practice is, for example, if you get to 40 weeks pregnant and your midwife suggests a sweep, it is for you to decide whether or not this is something you want.

You also have the right to sufficient, objective and unbiased information to enable you to make an informed choice. This applies throughout pregnancy, labour and delivery – and beyond. So, if you feel like you’re not getting enough information from your midwife or health professional, say so.

As HiPP mum Nicola says, ‘It’s YOUR pregnancy and you know your body. If something is / isn’t right for you, make sure that you (or your partner) speak up.’

How to make sure your questions are answered

If you’re finding it difficult to get all the information you need from your appointments, try going in with a list of questions. Hand a copy to your healthcare professional at the beginning of the appointment, so they can make sure they get through them all before you leave.

If there is something you feel strongly about, but you feel you are not being heard, take someone with you into your appointment to help bolster your confidence and advocate for you if you are struggling. You have the right to ask to see someone else if you feel like you have not connected with your regular midwife.

HiPP mum Emma says: ‘If you don’t understand what they are saying or recommending, ask. Don’t leave an appointment if you have any questions on what was said. Be aware that your health care professionals are the experts, but trust your gut instincts too – if it doesn’t feel right, speak up.’