Finally, we conclude this study session with a checklist that you can use to evaluate your own counselling skills and attitudes (Table 15.3). It has been adapted for use in counselling pregnant women, but it incorporates the general principles of counselling that you can apply to any client in your health care.

Table 15.3 Checklist for 'GATHER' counselling skill (modified for pregnant women).

GreetDid you:

Welcome each pregnant woman on arrival?

Discuss in a comfortable and private place?

Assure the pregnant woman of confidentiality?

Express caring and acceptance by words and gestures throughout the meeting?

Explain what to expect?

AskDid you:

Ask the pregnant woman's reason for the visit?

Encourage the pregnant woman to do two-thirds of the talking?

Ask mostly 'open' questions?

Pay attention to both what the client said and how it was said?

Put yourself in the woman's shoes — expressing understanding of what she said without criticism or judgment?

Ask about the pregnant woman's feelings?

Ask about her preferences?

TellDid you

Start the discussion focusing on the pregnant woman's preference(s)?

Discuss the danger symptoms of pregnancy in relation to the gestational age?

Give information about danger symptoms of pregnancy to help her make her own decisions?

Avoid 'information overload'?

Use words familiar to the client?

Discuss the advantages of early reporting if she encountered danger symptoms during pregnancy?

HelpDid you:

Let the pregnant women know that the decision is hers?

Help the pregnant women be able to realise common danger symptoms?

Help her think over the consequences for her own or her baby's life?

Advise the pregnant women without controlling and frustrating?

Let the pregnant women decide?

Make sure the pregnant women's choices are based on accurate understanding?

List any medical, social, cultural or religious reasons for making a different decision – probably different from what you might like to achieve?

ExplainDid you:

Provide what the client wants, if there is no medical reason not to?

Explain when the woman should come to you if one of the danger symptoms appeared?

Help her to explain in her own words how much she understands each of the danger symptoms of pregnancy?

Explain using printed instructions, pictures and diagrams?

ReturnDid you:

Plan when the next visit should be?

Discuss with the pregnant woman if she can come back with her husband or partner?

Assure the pregnant woman that she should come back at any time, for any reason?

Assure her to come back soon, even if she missed the day of her scheduled appointment for some reason beyond her control?

Assure her that it is her full right to go to any other health facility at any time?

Thank the pregnant woman for attending for antenatal care?