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Committee Opinion Number 667, July 2016

ABSTRACT: Emergency departments typically have structured triage guidelines for health care providers encountering the diverse cases that may present to their units. Such guidelines aid in determining which patients must be evaluated promptly and which may wait safely, and aid in determining anticipated use of resources. Although labor and delivery units frequently serve as emergency units for pregnant women, the appropriate structure, location, timing, and timeliness for hospital-based triage evaluations of obstetric patients are not always clear. Hospital-based obstetric units are urged to ...


Committee Opinion Number 665, June 2016

ABSTRACT: Considerable uncertainty exists about what constitutes appropriate levels of protection for adolescents as research participants and about the need for parental permission. The ethical principles that govern research include respect for individuals, beneficence, and justice, as articulated in the Belmont Report. Researchers should be familiar with and adhere to current federal regulations 45 C.F.R. § 46, and federal and state laws that affect research with minors. Investigators should understand the importance of caregiver permission—and ethically appropriate situations in which to ...


Committee Opinion Number 664, June 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 321, November 2005)

ABSTRACT: One of the most challenging scenarios in obstetric care occurs when a pregnant patient refuses recommended medical treatment that aims to support her well-being, her fetus’s well-being, or both. In such circumstances, the obstetrician–gynecologist’s ethical obligation to safeguard the pregnant woman’s autonomy may conflict with the ethical desire to optimize the health of the fetus. Forced compliance—the alternative to respecting a patient’s refusal of treatment—raises profoundly important issues about patient rights, respect for autonomy, violations of bodily integrity, power diffe...


Committee Opinion Number 658, February 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 361, February 2007)

ABSTRACT: Although most women in the United States initiate breastfeeding, more than one half wean earlier than they desire. As reproductive health experts and advocates for women’s health who work in conjunction with other obstetric and pediatric health care providers, obstetrician–gynecologists are uniquely positioned to enable women to achieve their infant feeding goals. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, with continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced through the infant’s first year ...


Committee Opinion Number 654, February 2016

ABSTRACT: Approximately one half (51%) of the 6 million pregnancies each year in the United States are unintended. A reproductive life plan is a set of personal goals regarding whether, when, and how to have children based on individual priorities, resources, and values. A lack of reproductive life planning, limited access to contraception, and inconsistent use of contraceptive methods contribute to unintended pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly supports women’s access to comprehensive and culturally appropriate reproductive life planning and encourages...


Committee Opinion Number 649, December 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 317, October 2005)

ABSTRACT: Projections suggest that people of color will represent most of the U.S. population by 2050, and yet significant racial and ethnic disparities persist in women’s health and health care. Although socioeconomic status accounts for some of these disparities, factors at the patient, practitioner, and health care system levels contribute to existing and evolving disparities in women’s health outcomes. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is committed to the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities in the health and health care of women and encourages obstetrician–g...


Committee Opinion Number 646, November 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 307, December 2004
and Committee Opinion No. 377, September 2007)

ABSTRACT: Inclusion of women in research studies is necessary for valid inferences about health and disease in women. The generalization of results from trials conducted in men may yield erroneous conclusions that fail to account for the biologic differences between men and women. Although significant changes in research design and practice have led to an increase in the proportion of women included in research trials, knowledge gaps remain because of a continued lack of inclusion of women, especially those who are pregnant, in premarketing research trials. This document provides a historical...


Committee Opinion Number 642, October 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 450, December 2009)

ABSTRACT: Unintended pregnancy persists as a major public health problem in the United States. Although lowering unintended pregnancy rates requires multiple approaches, individual obstetrician–gynecologists may contribute by increasing access to contraceptive implants and intrauterine devices. Obstetrician–gynecologists should encourage consideration of implants and intrauterine devices for all appropriate candidates, including nulliparous women and adolescents. Obstetrician–gynecologists should adopt best practices for long-acting reversible contraception insertion. Obstetrician–gynecologis...


Committee Opinion Number 639, September 2015

ABSTRACT: Information from vital records is critical to identify and quantify health-related issues and to measure progress toward quality improvement and public health goals. In particular, maternal and infant mortality serve as important indicators of the nation’s health, thereby influencing policy development, funding of programs and research, and measures of health care quality. Accurate and timely documentation of births and deaths is essential to high-quality vital statistics. This Committee Opinion describes the process by which births, maternal deaths, and fetal deaths are registered;...


Committee Opinion Number 633, June 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 422, December 2008)

ABSTRACT: Alcohol abuse and other substance use disorders are major, often underdiagnosed health problems for women, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, and have resulting high costs for individuals and society. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, defines substance use disorder as a pathologic pattern of behaviors related to the use of any of 10 separate classes of substances, including alcohol and licit and illicit substances. In order to optimize care of patients with substance use disorder, obstetrician–gynecologists are encou...


Committee Opinion Number 627, March 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 425, January 2009)

ABSTRACT: Unauthorized (undocumented) immigrants are less likely than other residents of the United States to have health insurance. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has long supported a basic health care package for all women living within the United States without regard to their country of origin or documentation. Providing access to quality health care for unauthorized immigrants and their children, who often were born in the United States and have U.S. citizenship, is essential to improving the nation’s public health.


Committee Opinion Number 625, March 2015

ABSTRACT: Women with dense breasts have a modestly increased risk of breast cancer and experience reduced sensitivity of mammography to detect breast cancer. However, evidence is lacking to advocate for additional testing until there are clinically validated data that indicate improved screening outcomes. Currently, screening mammography remains the most useful tool for breast cancer detection and consistently has demonstrated a reduction in breast cancer mortality. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not recommend routine use of alternative or adjunctive tests to scr...


13.
January 2015

Committee Opinion Number 617, January 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 403, April 2008)

ABSTRACT: Obstetrician–gynecologists care for women throughout their lifespans and are in an ideal position to have ongoing discussions with healthy patients about their values and wishes regarding future care and to encourage them to complete an advance directive for health care. In addition, situations may arise in which obstetrician–gynecologists need to participate in end-of-life care. When end-of-life decisions need to be made while a woman is pregnant, the level of ethical complexity often is increased. The purpose of this Committee Opinion is to discuss ethical issues related to end-of...


14.
January 2015

Committee Opinion Number 615, January 2015

ABSTRACT: Nearly all U.S. women who have ever had sexual intercourse have used some form of contraception at some point during their reproductive lives. However, multiple barriers prevent women from obtaining contraceptives or using them effectively and consistently. All women should have unhindered and affordable access to all U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives. This Committee Opinion reviews barriers to contraceptive access and offers strategies to improve access.


15.
November 2014

Committee Opinion Number 613, November 2014

(Replaces No. 424, January 2009, Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: Safe, legal abortion is a necessary component of women’s health care. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports the availability of high-quality reproductive health services for all women and is committed to improving access to abortion. Access to abortion is threatened by state and federal government restrictions, limitations on public funding for abortion services and training, stigma, violence against abortion providers, and a dearth of abortion providers. Legislative restrictions fundamentally interfere with the patient-provider relationship and decrease a...


Committee Opinion Number 612, November 2014

(Replaces No. 424, January 2009, Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: Access to safe abortion hinges upon the availability of trained abortion providers. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports education for students in health care fields as well as clinical training for residents and advanced practice clinicians in abortion care in order to increase the availability of trained abortion providers. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports the expansion of abortion education and an increase in the number and types of trained abortion providers in order to ensure women’s access to safe abortions. Integrate...


Committee Opinion Number 599, May 2014

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Confidentiality concerns are heightened during adolescence, and these concerns can be a critical barrier to adolescents in receiving appropriate health care. Health care providers caring for minors should be aware of federal and state laws that affect confidentiality. State statutes on the rights of minors to consent to health care services vary by state, and health care providers should be familiar with the regulations that apply to their practice. Parents and adolescents should be informed, both separately and together, that the information each of them shares with the health care...


18.
April 2014

Committee Opinion Number 592, April 2014

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces Committee Opinion Number 499, August 2011)

ABSTRACT: Reproductive-aged victims of sexual assault are at risk of unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and mental health conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder. Health care providers should screen routinely for a history of sexual assault and offer victims both emergency contraception and sexually transmitted infection prophylaxis. The health care provider who examines victims of sexual assault has a responsibility to comply with state and local statutory or policy requirements for the use of evidence-gathering kits.


Committee Opinion Number 586, February 2014

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces Committee Opinion Number 429, March 2009)

ABSTRACT: Rural women experience poorer health outcomes and have less access to health care than urban women. Many rural areas have limited numbers of health care providers, especially women’s health providers. Rural America is heterogeneous where problems vary depending on the region and state. Health care professionals should be aware of this issue and advocate for reducing health disparities in rural women.


Committee Opinion Number 578, November 2013

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces No. 395, January 2008)

ABSTRACT: Acknowledgment of the importance of patient autonomy and increased patient access to information, such as information on the Internet, has prompted more patient-generated requests for surgical interventions not traditionally recommended. Depending on the context, acceding to a request for a surgical option that is not traditionally recommended can be ethical. Decisions about acceding to patient requests for nontraditional surgical interventions should be based on strong support for patients’ informed preferences and values; understood in the context of an interpretive conversation; ...


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