The maternity system provides ‘standard’ or ‘routine’ care.
Standard care follows a set of assumptions. The focus is on numbers, measurables and averages.
The process is designed to look for problems and provide solutions, but can in fact create problems (see The Nocebo Effect).
Too often, 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.
An example of a standard time line of “low risk” maternity care may look like this:
In addition to these routine procedures, at each antenatal appointment the medical practitioner
may measure the mother’s belly (fundal height) and take her blood pressure, and check the baby’s heart with a Doppler.
Some care providers may include a scan at antenatal appointments, a urine test at each visit and pelvic/cervical exams.
See this link for details on Australian antenatal guidelines from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing
Some women find the tests and monitoring reassuring but for other mothers they can be worrying.
Even though they are routine, they are not compulsory.
You do have a choice to refuse and you might discuss this with your care providers.
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.
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