8.1  Gaining a woman’s trust in antenatal care

In order to make a good diagnosis of whether a woman is pregnant, or learn about her health history as part of her antenatal care, you must first gain her trust, and make her feel comfortable to talk to you about her personal details. Begin by introducing yourself and asking her respectfully to talk about herself and her health history. At first, she may not be willing to do this. If she feels shy about her body or about sex, it may be difficult for her to tell you things that you need to know about her health. Try to help her relax and trust you by listening carefully, answering her questions in language that she understands, keeping what she tells you private, and treating her with respect.

  • What could happen if you tell others what she has said to you about her personal history?

  • She could lose trust in you as a health professional. She may be less willing to talk honestly to you the next time you see her.

  • How could her loss of trust in you lead to a greater risk for her health or that of her baby?

  • She may not tell you important information about her pregnancy that could help you to identify possible risk factors before they become serious. She might even miss antenatal appointments because she doesn’t trust you.

You will be writing down what you learn about each pregnant woman in her antenatal record card (Figure 8.1).

A HEP taking notes when talking to a pregnant woman about her health history
Figure 8.1  Making good notes is essential when you learn a pregnant woman’s health history.

This information may be needed later in the pregnancy, during labour and delivery, or after the baby is born (the postnatal period). Reassure her that you won’t let anyone except other health professionals see the notes you have made about her.

First we will suggest the kinds of questions you could ask to help identify whether a woman is pregnant. Then we will explain what other information you will need to ask her about. This is so you can identify any risk factors she may have, and look after her effectively during the pregnancy.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 8

8.2  Finding out if a woman is pregnant