What does informed choice mean?

All people have the legal right to accept or decline medical care and procedures. Informed choice is the idea that all people receiving medical care have the right to be given the best information available to base their medical decisions on. This means that medical practitioners must tell their clients about the risks and benefits of a treatment, their medical opinion and any research evidence that is available. It is not the medical practitioner who makes the final decision, it is the client. This model of care respects the legal idea that we all have the right to control what happens to our bodies. There is a myth, when it comes to pregnancy care, that there is a conflict between what is best for the pregnant person and what is best for the unborn baby. In fact, the needs of the baby and the pregnant person are intertwined. Research shows that informed choice leads to the best outcomes and greater well being for the mother and child. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) states in their mission statement that "women should have the knowledge they need to make informed choices about their health". The Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM) says:

Midwives believe:

  • You have the right to make choices about all areas of your care.
  • You should be actively involved in your own care.
  • You should feel comfortable talking to your midwife if you are worried, unsure, or have a question.
  • You should have time to consider your options and discuss them with your midwife.
Allison Thompson