Regarding the role of the health care professional, the American Medical Association defines informed consent in the following way:
Informed consent is more than simply getting a patient to sign a written consent form. It is a process of communication between a patient and physician that results in the patient’s authorization or agreement to undergo a specific medical intervention. In the communications process the physician providing or performing the treatment and/or procedure (not a delegated representative), should disclose and discuss with [the] patient:
(1) The patient’s diagnosis, if known;
(2) The nature and purpose of a proposed treatment or procedure;
(3) The risks and benefits of a proposed treatment or procedure;
(4) Alternatives (regardless of their cost or the extent to which the treatment options are covered by health insurance);
(5) The risks and benefits of the alternative treatment or procedure; and
(6) The risks and benefits of not receiving or undergoing a treatment or procedure.
In turn, [the] patient should have an opportunity to ask questions to elicit a better understanding of the treatment or procedure, so that he or she can make an informed decision to proceed or to refuse a particular course of medical intervention.
Do you feel like you have truly given your informed consent when it comes to procedures that were performed on you during pregnancy, labor, birth, or postpartum? Not just anesthesia, but for everything — like an IV, being forced to stay in bed, or deprived of food and water, or having continuous fetal monitoring.
The above italicized portion was from Nursing Birth blog. Click here to read the rest of the very informative post, including an actual hospital informed consent form which you can read right now, instead of waiting until you are deep in labor.