Antenatal consultation is a specialist's central practice. The realistic aim is for a practitioner and a parent to meet in order to contribute to the treatment of the mother and the newborn before the birth of a child. Consultations should be sought when decisions about the care of the mother or child need to be made. As an alternative, consultations may be undertaken as a way of simply providing parents with anticipatory knowledge about the treatment their child may need. In cases of imminent premature birth, consultations from experts are most often sought for concerns related to maternal or fetal health.
Antenatal counseling is aimed at obtaining informed consent; helping to reduce parental anxiety; encouraging a multidisciplinary approach; enabling medical care strategies to be developed, and supporting parenting activities such as breastfeeding and holding. There is great variance in how doctors interact and record details about antenatal consultation. Expectant families also need the opportunity to share their emotions, speak about their pregnancy and infant, and explore how they can connect with their baby after birth (touching, holding, and feeding).
Typically, the antenatal appointment is the first point of contact of the parent with the doctors coping with ethically complex and morally difficult predicaments, such as serious prematurity and complicated congenital abnormalities. For antenatal consultation, a disease or medical-based model may not be the most suitable means.