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1.
June 2018

Committee Opinion Number 741, June 2018

ABSTRACT: Immunization is an essential part of care for adults, including pregnant women. Influenza vaccination for pregnant women is especially important because pregnant women who contract influenza are at greater risk of maternal morbidity and mortality in addition to fetal morbidity, including congenital anomalies, spontaneous abortion, preterm birth, and low birth weight. Other vaccines provide maternal protection from severe morbidity related to specific pathogens such as pneumococcus, meningococcus, and hepatitis for at-risk pregnant women. Obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetri...


Committee Opinion Number 651, December 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion 349, November 2006, Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: Despite variations worldwide and within the U.S. population, median age at menarche has remained relatively stable—between 12 years and 13 years—across well-nourished populations in developed countries. Environmental factors, including socioeconomic conditions, nutrition, and access to preventive health care, may influence the timing and progression of puberty. A number of medical conditions can cause abnormal uterine bleeding, characterized by unpredictable timing and variable amount of flow. Clinicians should educate girls and their caretakers (eg, parents or guardians) about what...


Committee Opinion Number 590, March 2014

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces Committee Opinion Number 487, April 2011)

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 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 674, September 2016

ABSTRACT: New or emerging surgical procedures and technologies continue to be developed at a rapid rate and must be implemented safely into clinical practice. Additional privileging may be required if substantively new technical or cognitive skills are required to implement an innovative procedure or technology. Guiding principles for privileging should include cognitive and technical assessment to ensure appropriate patient selection and performance of the new procedure. Implementation also should include pertinent institutional and staff support as needed. A dynamic process for assessment a...


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 569, August 2013

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: Oral health is an important component of general health and should be maintained during pregnancy and through a woman’s lifespan. Maintaining good oral health may have a positive effect on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other disorders. In 2007–2009, 35% of U.S. women reported that they did not have a dental visit within the past year and 56% of women did not visit a dentist during pregnancy. Access to dental care is directly related to income level; the poorest women are least likely to have received dental care. Optimal maternal oral hygiene during the perinatal period may ...


Committee Opinion Number 708, July 2017

ABSTRACT: The population of women who sell or exchange sex or intimate sexual services for material goods or services, also called “sex work,” often is unrecognized in the typical obstetric and gynecologic practice. The prevalence of this behavior among adult women is difficult to quantify because of its frequent omission from the routine sexual history by women and clinicians. Data on the prevalence of sex work in the United States are largely lacking. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports increasing awareness about the health risks, preventive care needs, and limi...


Committee Opinion Number 479, March 2011

Reaffirmed 2017

ABSTRACT: Methamphetamine abuse has continued to increase in the United States since the late 1980s with its use spreading from the West Coast to areas across the country. Methamphetamine use in pregnancy endangers the health of the woman and increases the risk of low birth weight and small for gestational age babies and such use may increase the risk of neurodevelopmental problems in children. All pregnant women should be asked about their drug and alcohol use. Urine toxicology screening may be useful in detecting methamphetamine and other substance abuse during pregnancy, but this screening...


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 600, June 2014

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: Rates of obesity in the United States have increased rapidly over the past several decades, and physicians should be prepared to care for obese patients in a nonjudgmental manner, being cognizant of the medical, social, and ethical implications of obesity. It is the responsibility of the physician to recognize the medical risks that are associated with obesity and to counsel the patient regarding these risks in an unbiased manner, respecting her autonomy and maintaining her dignity. Classifying obesity as a medical condition can serve to reduce bias toward obese patients and to chan...


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 466, September 2010

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: International humanitarian medical efforts provide essential services to patients who would not otherwise have access to specific health care services. The Committees on Ethics and Global Women's Health of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourage College Fellows and other health care professionals to participate in international humanitarian medical efforts for this reason. However, such programs present Fellows with a unique set of practical and ethical challenges. It is important for health care providers to consider these challenges before participating i...


Committee Opinion Number 427, February 2009

ABSTRACT: The World Health Organization estimates that 67,000 women, mostly in developing countries, die each year from untreated or inadequately treated abortion complications. Postabortion care, a term commonly used by the international reproductive health community, refers to a specific set of services for women experiencing problems from all types of spontaneous or induced abortion. There is increasing evidence that misoprostol is a safe, effective, and acceptable method to achieve uterine evacuation for women needing postabortion care. To reduce maternal mortality, availability of postab...


15.
January 2015

Committee Opinion Number 617, January 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 403, April 2008) (Reaffirmed 2018)

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...


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 385, November 2007

Reaffirmed 2016

ABSTRACT: Health care providers occasionally may find that providing indicated, even standard, care would present for them a personal moral problem—a conflict of conscience—particularly in the field of reproductive medicine. Although respect for conscience is important, conscientious refusals should be limited if they constitute an imposition of religious or moral beliefs on patients, negatively affect a patient's health, are based on scientific misinformation, or create or reinforce racial or socioeconomic inequalities. Conscientious refusals that conflict with patient well-being should be a...


Committee Opinion Number 695, April 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 371, July 2007)

ABSTRACT: Sterilization is the most common method of contraception among married couples, with nearly twice as many couples choosing female partner sterilization over male sterilization. Although sterilization is among the most straightforward surgical procedures an obstetrician–gynecologist performs, it is enormously complex when considered from a historical, sociological, or ethical perspective. Sterilization practices have embodied a problematic tension, in which some women who desired fertility were sterilized without their knowledge or consent, and other women who wanted sterilization to...


Committee Opinion Number 564, May 2013

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Because of the growing importance of infectious disease prevention in the individual patient and the larger community, it is vital that Fellows of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists be prepared to navigate the practical and ethical challenges that come with vaccination. Health care professionals have an ethical obligation to keep their patients’ best interests in mind by following evidence-based guidelines to encourage patients to be vaccinated and to be vaccinated themselves. College Fellows should counsel their patients about vaccination in an evidence-based m...


20.
December 2007

Committee Opinion Number 389, December 2007

(Reaffirmed 2015)

ABSTRACT: Because human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection often is detected through prenatal and sexually transmitted disease testing, an obstetrician–gynecologist may be the first health professional to provide care for a woman infected with HIV. Universal testing with patient notification and right of refusal ("opt-out" testing) is recommended by most national organizations and federal agencies. Although opt-out and "opt-in" testing (but not mandatory testing) are both ethically acceptable, the former approach may identify more women who are eligible for therapy and may have public hea...


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