No matter which type of care you choose, or is available in your area, there are important questions that may want to ask your LMC or obstetrician during your antenatal appointments. Examples of questions, as suggested by the Trauma and Birth Stress Support Trust (TABS), are:
- Who will be providing care for me during labour and birth?
- What knowledge and experience do you/they have of multiple pregnancies?
- How many multiple pregnancies have you cared for?
- What can I expect during labour? How is it different to a singleton birth? How many people are likely to be present?
- What are the signs of premature labour?
- How do I reduce the risks of premature labour?
- How much weight should I aim to put on during this pregnancy?
- What is a recommended diet for a multiple pregnancy?
- What is the recommended time to stop work when carrying twins?
TABS recommends that if you are feeling worried, ask as many questions as you need to until you get answers—don’t be fobbed off with “It’s just because you’re carrying twins/triplets.” Ask for more information. When told “It’ll be different for you because you’re carrying twins/triplets”, ask how it will be different.Take a support person with you to appointments if you feel you are not being listened to.
Your care and the code of rights
The Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (the Code of Rights) applies to your care during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period. Pamphlets about the code are available from your LMC and at all hospitals and clinics—or you can find them at http://www.hdc.org.nz.
The key things to remember about your care are:
- That you receive explanations in a language that you can understand—the right to effective communication (Right 5)
- Information needs to be truthful, accurate and cover both the pros and cons of a proposed treatment, procedure or care—this is the right to be fully informed (Right 6)
- You need this information so that you can make an informed choice and give informed consent about any treatment, procedure or care that is given to you (Right 7).
In other words, you need to agree to treatment, procedures or care that has been explained in a way that you understand. The care you receive during your pregnancy should reflect this code. An important part of the philosophy of the Code of Rights is for you to be fully involved in planning your care. You also have the right to be with health care providers that you feel comfortable and safe with—the trust relationship is an important part of your maternity care.