The maternity system provides ‘standard’ or ‘routine’ care.
From the moment a woman begins her medical care, she becomes a number. She stands on a metaphorical conveyor belt, and her pregnancy is processed and treated according to the ‘standard’ of care.
Standard care follows a set of assumptions, a ‘one size fits all’ approach. With standard care, women are often told on a need-to-know basis, which does not allow time to investigate and make an informed decision. A respectful care provider will honour the informed decision by allowing time and space, discussion and deliberation.
Standard care varies with model of care, and from country to country.
The suggested resources available in the Member Area include information about the tests that are offered in standard care, this will help you understand the tests and decide if the tests are right for you. With this in mind, you will be able to choose a care provider that aligns to your needs (more on this soon).
Some women find the tests and monitoring reassuring but for others they can be worrying. Even though they are standard, they are not compulsory.
You have the right, and responsibility, to decide.
By understanding the offered procedures through pregnancy, and the impact of your consenting or declining, you are better able to decide the best way to proceed for you. Some of the choices we make during pregnancy will impact the choices available during labour.
You will be considered either ‘low risk’ or ‘high risk’ by your care provider. If you are considered ‘high risk’ it is important to explore why and to determine how you feel about this for yourself (more on ‘danger, risk and opportunity’ coming up)
An example of a standard, or routine, time line of ‘low risk’ maternity care in Australia may look like this:
In addition to these routine procedures, at each antenatal appointment the medical practitioner will measure the mother’s abdomen (fundal height) and take her blood pressure, and check the baby’s heart with a Doppler. Some care providers may in addition include a scan, a urine test and pelvic/cervical exams at antenatal appointments.
In Australia, public services are generally at no cost to you, though you may find yourself out of pocket for some pathology and/or imaging services. Be sure to ask your chosen care provider about your provider options for any tests. The cost of private services varies, as does what is covered by private health insurance. Be sure to read any fine print.
This PDF provides information about routine tests, this will help you decide if the tests are right for you.
With standard care , women are often told on a ‘need to know basis’, which does not allow time to investigate and make an informed decision. A good care provider will honour the informed decision by allowing time and space, discussion and deliberation.