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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 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...


4.
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...


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 501, August 2011

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: The past two decades have yielded profound advances in the fields of prenatal diagnosis and fetal intervention. Although fetal interventions are driven by a beneficence-based motivation to improve fetal and neonatal outcomes, advancement in fetal therapies raises ethical issues surrounding maternal autonomy and decision making, concepts of innovation versus research, and organizational aspects within institutions in the development of fetal care centers. To safeguard the interests of both the pregnant woman and the fetus, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and t...


7.
September 2017

Committee Opinion Number 719, September 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 553, February 2013)

ABSTRACT: Although not all multifetal pregnancies occur after the use of assisted reproductive technology, fertility treatments have contributed significantly to the increase in multifetal pregnancies. In almost all cases, it is preferable to avoid the risk of higher-order multifetal pregnancy by limiting the number of embryos to be transferred or by cancelling a gonadotropin cycle when the ovarian response suggests a high risk of a multifetal pregnancy. When multifetal pregnancies do occur, incorporating the ethical framework presented in this Committee Opinion will help obstetrician–gynecol...


Committee Opinion Number 636, June 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 449, December 2009) Reaffirmed 2017

ABSTRACT: Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an autosomal recessive disorder of phenylalanine (Phe) metabolism characterized by deficient activity of the hepatic enzyme, phenylalanine hydroxylase. Increased blood Phe levels are toxic to a variety of tissues, particularly the developing fetal brain. The mainstay of treatment for PKU is the dietary restriction of Phe, which results in decreased blood Phe levels. Lifelong dietary restriction and therapy improves quality of life in patients with PKU and should be encouraged. Genetic counseling is recommended for all reproductive-aged women with PKU, and sh...


Committee Opinion Number 478, March 2011

(Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Family history plays a critical role in assessing the risk of inherited medical conditions and single gene disorders. Several methods have been established to obtain family medical histories, including the family history questionnaire or checklist and the pedigree. The screening tool selected should be tailored to the practice setting and patient population. It is recommended that all women receive a family history evaluation as a screening tool for inherited risk. Family history information should be reviewed and updated regularly, especially when there are significant changes to f...


10.
August 2012

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 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 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 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 721, October 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion 471, October 2010)

ABSTRACT: Smoking is the one of the most important modifiable causes of poor pregnancy outcomes in the United States, and is associated with maternal, fetal, and infant morbidity and mortality. The physical and psychologic addiction to cigarettes is powerful; however, the compassionate intervention of the obstetrician–gynecologist can be the critical element in prenatal smoking cessation. An office-based protocol that systematically identifies pregnant women who smoke and offers treatment or referral has been proved to increase quit rates. A short counseling session with pregnancy-specific ed...


Committee Opinion Number 684, January 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 543, December 2012) (Reaffirmed 2018)

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...


16.
March 2018

Committee Opinion Number 731, March 2018

ABSTRACT: Individual prenatal care is intended to prevent poor perinatal outcomes and provide education to women throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period through a series of one-on-one encounters between a woman and her obstetrician or other obstetric care provider. Concerns regarding increasing health care costs, health care provider availability, dissatisfaction with wait times, and the minimal opportunity for education and support associated with the individual care model have given rise to interest in alternative models of prenatal care. One alternative model, group pre...


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 ...


Committee Opinion Number 713, August 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 677, October 2016) (Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Corticosteroid administration before anticipated preterm birth is one of the most important antenatal therapies available to improve newborn outcomes. A single course of corticosteroids is recommended for pregnant women between 24 0/7 weeks and 33 6/7 weeks of gestation who are at risk of preterm delivery within 7 days, including for those with ruptured membranes and multiple gestations. It also may be considered for pregnant women starting at 23 0/7 weeks of gestation who are at risk of preterm delivery within 7 days, based on a family’s decision regarding resuscitation, irrespecti...


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