Practice Updates for September/October: Antenatal Corticosteroid Therapy for Fetal Maturation, Health Literacy to Promote Quality of Care, Screening Tests for Ovarian Cancer

Stay up to date with ACOG's authoritative clinical guidance and helpful patient education materials. The following provides Practice Updates for September and October 2016.


Featured Committee Opinion 677: Antenatal Corticosteroid Therapy for Fetal Maturation

In Committee Opinion 677, Antenatal Corticosteroid Therapy for Fetal Maturation, ACOG expands its recommendations for use of antenatal corticosteroids to fight negative effects of preterm birth, the leading cause of neonatal death in the United States. The Committee Opinion is included in a number of ACOG materials that comprehensively address preterm birth and combat negative newborn outcomes. ACOG’s recommendations include the many instances where corticosteroids can improve newborn outcomes through successful administration before preterm birth. The Opinion was developed to help guide the timing and frequency of corticosteroid administration under various clinical contexts before preterm birth. ACOG has long recommended that corticosteroids are administered to women between 24 and 34 weeks of pregnancy who are anticipated to go into imminent preterm labor, and now recommends that corticosteroids can be administered to certain populations during the late preterm birth period or between 34 and 37 weeks of gestation.

Committee Opinion #677: Antenatal Corticosteroid Therapy for Fetal Maturation is available in the October 2016 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Featured Committee Opinion 676: Health Literacy to Promote Quality of Care

In a new Committee Opinion, ACOG acknowledges the prevalence of low health literacy in our patients and emphasizes the correlation between health literacy and health outcomes. Our current health care system requires patients to make decisions about their health based on information that is relayed to them in a way that may not consider their distinct information needs. Older patients and patients with little to no proficiency in English may be limited in their ability to follow a treatment plan that is presented to them. As health care providers, it is our duty to present information in a way that is simple and clear, and ensure that patients have understood the information before ending the conversation.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has identified three main objectives in health communication and health information technology: 1) improve the health literacy of the population 2) increase the number of people who use electronic health management tools 3) increase the proportion of the population who report that their health care providers always involve them in decisions about their health care as much as they want.

Committee Opinion #676: Health Literacy to Promote Quality of Care is available in the October 2016 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Featured Practice Advisory: FDA Issues Safety Communication on Screening Tests for Ovarian Cancer

In a Safety Communication published September 7, 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration recommends against using tests that are currently offered to screen for ovarian cancer. ACOG’s Practice Advisory notes that there are currently no tests that effectively screen for ovarian cancer, and that tests marketed to do so are not based on data. The FDA recommends that physicians do not use tests that claim to screen for ovarian cancer among the general female population. There is no substitute for preventive action that will reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in high-risk patients, and testing high-risk, asymptomatic patients has no proven benefit. The FDA also recommends referring high-risk women, including those with the BRCA mutations, to a genetic counselor, gynecologic oncologist, or other appropriate health care provider for more specialized care.

Read the full Practice Advisory: FDA Issues Safety Communication on Screening Tests for Ovarian Cancer, published September 2016.

Read the complete FDA Drug Safety Communication.


ACOG helps you stay informed of the latest Zika information:

ACOG’s Zika webpage

ACOG/SMFM Practice Advisory on Zika

CDC Zika Virus Website

State Health Department Contact list for ob-gyns (members only) for questions on CDC’s Zika Registry

State Health Department Contact list for ob-gyns (members only) for questions on testing

CDC Zika Pregnancy Hotline for Health Care Providers: Ob-gyns can contact the CDC Zika Pregnancy Hotline at 770-488-7100 or email for any concerns related to clinical management or the US Zika Pregnancy Registry




New Committee Opinions

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New Practice Bulletins (members only) 

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New Patient Education Pamphlets (members only)

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Patients

See all Frequently Asked Questions 


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