Continuous CTG monitoring – Can women say no?

I have decided to attend the Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO) course in Brisbane in October. The course is very comprehensive in dealing with the best available evidenced based practice and hands on clinical skills when it comes to emergency situations in pregnancy and childbirth.

I have read with interest the course manual in preparation for the course and the exam. One overwhelming theme from the manual is that women in all situations should be councelled about the risks and benefits to all different treatment options (such as continuous fetal monitoring, wanting Vaginal Birth after Caesarean – VBAC – to name a few) and their choice in the decision making process of whether or not to accept an intervention should be respected.

Unfortunately this view is not always upheld in some hospital settings.

I was with a client in a hospital setting a few weeks ago and although my client had willingly accepted continuous fetal monitoring (as she was wanting VBAC) she was told in no uncertain terms that she ‘had to’ accept the monitoring as it was hospital policy to continuously monitor women in labour wanting VBAC.

My client didn’t ‘have to’ accept the monitoring at all, and in fact no one can ‘make her’ do anything! Like the ALSO manual clearly states, a woman’s choice to treatment options such as continuous fetal monitoring

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should be respected after she is given the benefits and risks associated with the intervention.


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