Prenatal care is an important part of ensuring a healthy pregnancy and healthy delivery for both mother and child. While exciting, pregnancy is often a new and stressful experience for expectant mothers who may be nervous about receiving prenatal care. Providers of prenatal care can help make the experience a positive one by practicing these ways to maintain patient dignity in prenatal care.
What Is Patient Dignity?
In healthcare settings, patient dignity refers to a patient’s worth and their right to be respected, valued, and treated as a human being. Patient dignity is especially important to consider in hospice situations or other medical environments in which a patient’s privacy has the potential to be violated.
Promoting Patient Dignity in Prenatal Care
Because prenatal care deals with the health of a mother during pregnancy and the child inside her body, prenatal care procedures have the potential to be invasive, awkward, and even scary for expectant mothers. To promote patient dignity, prenatal care specialists can practice the following ways to maintain patient dignity in prenatal care in procedures and interactions with their patients.
Communication Is Key
For many new mothers, pregnancy and prenatal care are intimidating because they know so little about them. Prenatal care specialists should make sure to effectively communicate information about the pregnancy to mothers and families—don’t treat them as if they are entirely uneducated, but don’t assume they already know everything. Before performing a procedure, be sure to explain it thoroughly to expectant mothers or couples, as this will put them at ease and alleviate their fear of the unknown.
Value Patient Privacy
By nature, some pregnancy procedures or checkups—even the delivery itself—will be invasive and somewhat awkward or uncomfortable for the patient. Before performing an invasive procedure or checkup, always inform the patient about what you will be doing and request their consent. This will help the patient maintain their dignity and physical privacy, and it will make the procedure a much less uncomfortable and nerve-racking experience for them.
Treat Patients With Empathy
Pregnancy and everything surrounding it can take an emotional toll on a patient. Throughout prenatal care, be mindful of a patient’s thoughts, emotions, and reactions to certain information or procedures. Stand for a moment in their shoes and try to understand why they are thinking or feeling a certain way. Creating a genuine relationship with the patient is important in this line of work. Doing so will help patients feel understood, respected, and genuinely cared for, both physically and emotionally.
Practicing the above techniques for promoting patient dignity will help prenatal care specialists provide respectful and meaningful patient care. You can also make the experience more physically comfortable for both patients and health care providers by using the proper equipment, including an ergonomic ultrasound table. Pregnancy should be an exciting time for patients and their families, so do your part to make the prenatal care process a smooth, unintimidating, and respectful experience.