Changin’ it up: shining the light on what it means to be informed in maternity care

Megan Cooper, Annette Briley, Fiona Dillon, Liz McNeill, Claire Feeley, Claire Singh, Paula Medway

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Rising intervention rates have prompted discussions about the importance of respectful maternity care, where the woman is an active participant, exercising autonomy and self-determination in decisions made about her and her baby. This is the foundation of woman-centred maternity care. While woman-centred care is underpinned by the basic human and bodily right to informed decision-making, there is increasing evidence to suggest that women are experiencing adverse physical and psychological outcomes, as a direct result of interventions or procedures that were not sufficiently explained to or imposed on them. Despite the significance of informed decision-making in maternity care, clear articulation of what “informed” means and how it can be supported and facilitated is limited.

To (1) develop consensus surrounding the definition of, and processes for, facilitating informed decision-making for maternity care procedures or interventions and (2) identify the current understanding of informed decision-making and consent from the perspective of women and healthcare professionals.

The first phase of this study explored the definitions of informed decision-making and consent using a concept analysis. This was followed by a systematic meta-thematic synthesis to explore the understandings of informed decision-making and consent from the perspective of women and clinicians. The results of phases one and two will inform an international Delphi study to gain consensus on what it truly means to be informed in maternity care.

The literature highlights that women often feel excluded from key decisions related to the care they receive across the childbirth continuum. This may be related to the disparity between what they need to know and what the clinician feels is sufficient information. Being informed may therefore hold varied meanings for those providing and receiving care. Understandings of what it means to be informed in maternity care will be presented.

Seeking informed consent has become something we do in maternity care. This project changed it up and sought to examine the definitions and meanings of informed decision-making from the perspective of clinicians and consumers. As such, we shed light on what it truly means for women to be informed in the provision of maternity care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S44-S44
Number of pages1
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue numberSupplement 1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
EventAustralian College of Midwives National Conference: Be the Change - Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 12 Sept 202314 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Poster presentation P34 by Megan Cooper Thursday 14th September 2023.


  • Maternity care
  • Childbirth
  • Birth choice


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