Although pregnant women have great latitude in assuming the risk of various
medical care options, they do not have an unlimited right to assume risks for
the baby. Physicians should be careful not to agree to medical care that
unnecessarily increases the risk to the baby. For example, a physician may not
want to accept a patient who refuses consent to a Cesarean section under all
circumstances. The physician should not humor the patient with the intention
of forcing care on her when an emergency arises. Physicians should be wary of
situations that limit their options in an emergency. Conversely, physicians must
tell their patients of the risks that are imposed by their practice styles.
Physicians who practice at high altitudes or in facilities that cannot provide
proper emergency services must document that the patient understands that
she and her baby are at substantial additional risk because of these factors.