This is a great video of a presentation by Barry Schwartz. He is a phsycologist and discusses the paradox of choice.
In midwifery we pride ourselves on offering women "informed choice". What does this mean? Women need to understand what is happening during pregnancy labour and birth. Midwives have a responsibility to support and guide women through the process of becoming mothers. As a midwife I have an responsibility to outline the type of care the woman might expect from me, for example if I provide care at homebirth and in a primary or secondary facility. If I can support her choice for water birth or if this is outside my area of expertise. I need to have these conversations with women early in the care I provide so that there are no unexpected surprises as the birth approaches. If I cannot provide an aspect of care that she wants then I need to refer her to somone else who can.
When it comes to the point where a woman does not want to make a choice and wants her midwife to make this choice for her what should we do? Are the women we care for overwhelmed with choice and is this OK? As midwives and guardians of normal birth do we need to inform women about about all battery of medical interventions that have become part of the 'normal' birth experience? Do we need to prepare all women for ultrasonography, Group B Streptococcus,gestational diabettes, epidural, caesarean section, forceps and ventouse. Should we be more selective in what infromation and choices we give to what women? Are all these choices playing a role in the ever increasing medicalisation and intervention in childbirth in our society?