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Committee Opinion Number 660, March 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 397, February 2008)

ABSTRACT: Gestational surrogacy is an increasingly common form of family building that can allow individuals or a couple to become parents despite circumstances in which carrying a pregnancy is biologically impossible or medically contraindicated. The practice of gestational surrogacy involves a woman known as a gestational carrier who agrees to bear a genetically unrelated child with the help of assisted reproductive technologies for an individual or couple who intend(s) to be the legal and rearing parent(s), referred to as the intended parent(s). Obstetrician–gynecologists may become involv...


Committee Opinion Number 680, November 2016

ABSTRACT: Checklists are used in medical and nonmedical settings as cognitive aids to ensure that users complete all the items associated with a particular task. They are ideal for tasks with many steps, for tasks performed under stressful circumstances, or for reminding people to perform tasks that they are not routinely accustomed to doing. In medicine, they are ideal for promoting standardized processes of care in situations in which variation in practice may increase patient risk and the chance of medical errors. Checklists also can be used to enhance teamwork and communication. It is a g...


Committee Opinion Number 590, March 2014

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 487, April 2011) (Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Patient care emergencies may occur at any time in any setting, particularly the inpatient setting. It is important that obstetrician–gynecologists prepare themselves by assessing potential emergencies, establishing early warning systems, designating specialized first responders, conducting emergency drills, and debriefing staff after actual events to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. Having such systems in place may reduce or prevent the severity of medical emergencies.


Committee Opinion Number 531, August 2012

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces No. 331, April 2006 and No. 400, March 2008)

ABSTRACT: Despite significant national attention, medical errors continue to pervade the U.S. health care system. Medication-related errors consistently rank at the top of all medical errors, which account for thousands of preventable deaths annually in the United States. There are a variety of methods—ranging from broad-based error reduction strategies to the adoption of sophisticated health information technologies—that can assist obstetrician–gynecologists in minimizing the risk of medication errors. Practicing obstetrician–gynecologists should be familiar with these various approaches tha...


Committee Opinion Number 652, January 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 573, September 2013) (Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises against the use of magnesium sulfate injections for more than 5–7 days to stop preterm labor in pregnant women. Based on this, the drug classification was changed from Category A to Category D, and the labeling was changed to include this new warning information. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s change in classification addresses an unindicated and nonstandard use of magnesium sulfate in obstetric care. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine continue to support ...


Committee Opinion Number 205, August 1998

Tubal ligation at the time of cesarean delivery requires significant additional physician work even though the technical work of the procedure is brief. Informed consent by the patient requires considerably more counseling by the physician regarding potential risks and benefits of this procedure than is necessary with alternative means of sterilization and contraception. Also, many states require completion of special informed consent documents in addition to the customary consent forms required by hospitals. These forms must be completed before scheduling the procedure.


Committee Opinion Number 687, February 2017

ABSTRACT: Obstetrician–gynecologists, in collaboration with midwives, nurses, patients, and those who support them in labor, can help women meet their goals for labor and birth by using techniques that are associated with minimal interventions and high rates of patient satisfaction. Many common obstetric practices are of limited or uncertain benefit for low-risk women in spontaneous labor. For women who are in latent labor and are not admitted, a process of shared decision making is recommended. Admission during the latent phase of labor may be necessary for a variety of reasons. A pregnant w...


Committee Opinion Number 681, December 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 520, March 2012)

ABSTRACT: Adverse outcomes, preventable or otherwise, are a reality of medical care. Most importantly, adverse events affect patients, but they also affect health care practitioners. Disclosing information about adverse events has benefits for the patient and the physician and, ideally, strengthens the patient–physician relationship and promotes trust. Studies show that after an adverse outcome, patients expect and want timely and full disclosure of the event, an acknowledgment of responsibility, an understanding of what happened, expressions of sympathy, and a discussion of what is being don...


Committee Opinion Number 559, April 2013

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: Cesarean delivery on maternal request is defined as a primary prelabor cesarean delivery on maternal request in the absence of any maternal or fetal indications. Potential risks of cesarean delivery on maternal request include a longer maternal hospital stay, an increased risk of respiratory problems for the infant, and greater complications in subsequent pregnancies, including uterine rupture, placental implantation problems, and the need for hysterectomy. Potential short-term benefits of planned cesarean delivery compared with a planned vaginal delivery (including women who give b...


Committee Opinion Number 563, May 2013

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Pregnant women traditionally have been assigned priority in the allocation of prevention and treatment resources during outbreaks of influenza because of their increased risk of morbidity and mortality. The Committee on Ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists explores ethical justifications for assigning priority for prevention and treatment resources to pregnant women during an influenza pandemic, makes recommendations to incorporate ethical issues in pandemic influenza planning concerning pregnant women, and calls for pandemic preparedness efforts to incl...


11.
November 2013

Committee Opinion Number 579, November 2013

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: In the past, the period from 3 weeks before until 2 weeks after the estimated date of delivery was considered “term,” with the expectation that neonatal outcomes from deliveries in this interval were uniform and good. Increasingly, however, research has shown that neonatal outcomes, especially respiratory morbidity, vary depending on the timing of delivery within this 5-week gestational age range. To address this lack of uniformity, a work group was convened in late 2012, which recommended that the label “term” be replaced with the designations early term (37 0/7 weeks of gestation ...


Committee Opinion Number 410, June 2008

(Reaffirmed 2014)

ABSTRACT: Genetic testing is poised to play an increasing role in the practice of obstetrics and gynecology. To assure patients of the highest quality of care, physicians should become familiar with the currently available array of genetic tests and the tests' limitations. Clinicians should be able to identify patients within their practices who are candidates for genetic testing. Candidates will include patients who are pregnant or considering pregnancy and are at risk for giving birth to affected children as well as gynecology patients who, for example, may have or be predisposed to certain...


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; ...


Committee Opinion Number 684, January 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 543, December 2012)

ABSTRACT: Delayed umbilical cord clamping appears to be beneficial for term and preterm infants. In term infants, delayed umbilical cord clamping increases hemoglobin levels at birth and improves iron stores in the first several months of life, which may have a favorable effect on developmental outcomes. There is a small increase in jaundice that requires phototherapy in this group of infants. Consequently, health care providers adopting delayed umbilical cord clamping in term infants should ensure that mechanisms are in place to monitor for and treat neonatal jaundice. In preterm infants, de...


Committee Opinion Number 689, March 2017

ABSTRACT: In 2006, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association published the 2005 guidelines on neonatal resuscitation. Before the 2005 guidelines, management of a newborn with meconium-stained amniotic fluid included suctioning of the oropharynx and nasopharynx on the perineum after the delivery of the head but before the delivery of the shoulders. The 2005 guidelines did not support this practice because routine intrapartum suctioning does not prevent or alter the course of meconium aspiration syndrome in vigorous newborns. However, the 2005 guidelines did support ...


Committee Opinion Number 692, April 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 623, February 2015)

ABSTRACT: Acute-onset, severe systolic hypertension; severe diastolic hypertension; or both can occur during the prenatal, intrapartum, or postpartum periods. Pregnant women or women in the postpartum period with acute-onset, severe systolic hypertension; severe diastolic hypertension; or both require urgent antihypertensive therapy. Introducing standardized, evidence-based clinical guidelines for the management of patients with preeclampsia and eclampsia has been demonstrated to reduce the incidence of adverse maternal outcomes. Individuals and institutions should have mechanisms in place to...


Committee Opinion Number 638, September 2015

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: Hypertensive disorders with adverse sequelae (including preterm birth, maternal morbidity and mortality, and long-term risk of maternal cardiovascular disease) complicate 5–10% of pregnancies. Early identification of pregnant women at risk of developing early-onset preeclampsia would theoretically allow referral for more intensive surveillance or application of preventive therapies to reduce the risk of severe disease. In practice, however, the effectiveness of such triage would be hindered by the low positive predictive value for early-onset preeclampsia reported in the literature....


Committee Opinion Number 667, July 2016

(Reaffirmed 2018)

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 670, August 2016

(Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Immediate postpartum long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) has the potential to reduce unintended and short-interval pregnancy. Women should be counseled about all forms of postpartum contraception in a context that allows informed decision making. Immediate postpartum LARC should be offered as an effective option for postpartum contraception; there are few contraindications to postpartum intrauterine devices and implants. Obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers should discuss LARC during the antepartum period and counsel all pregnant women about options ...


Committee Opinion Number 679, November 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 594, April 2014)

ABSTRACT: Immersion in water during labor or delivery has been popularized over the past several decades. The prevalence of this practice in the United States is uncertain because it has not been studied in births outside of the home and birth centers, and the data are not recorded on birth certificates. Among randomized controlled trials included in a 2009 Cochrane systematic review that addressed immersion in the first stage of labor, results were inconsistent with regard to maternal benefits. Neither the Cochrane systematic review nor any individual trials included in that review reported ...


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