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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...


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 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 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 678, November 2016

ABSTRACT: Current sexuality education programs vary widely in the accuracy of content, emphasis, and effectiveness. Data have shown that not all programs are equally effective for all ages, races and ethnicities, socioeconomic groups, and geographic areas. Studies have demonstrated that comprehensive sexuality education programs reduce the rates of sexual activity, sexual risk behaviors (eg, number of partners and unprotected intercourse), sexually transmitted infections, and adolescent pregnancy. One key component of an effective program is encouraging community-centered efforts. In addition...


6.
February 2012

Committee Opinion Number 518, February 2012

ABSTRACT: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant yet preventable public health problem that affects millions of women regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or educational background. Individuals who are subjected to IPV may have lifelong consequences, including emotional trauma, lasting physical impairment, chronic health problems, and even death. Although women of all ages may experience IPV, it is most prevalent among women of reproductive age and contributes to gynecologic disorders, pregnancy complications, unintended pregnancy, and s...


Committee Opinion Number 627, March 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 425, January 2009, Reaffirmed 2017)

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 473, January 2011

(Reaffirmed 2014)

Abstract: Drug enforcement policies that deter women from seeking prenatal care are contrary to the welfare of the mother and fetus. Incarceration and the threat of incarceration have proved to be ineffective in reducing the incidence of alcohol or drug abuse. Obstetrician–gynecologists should be aware of the reporting requirements related to alcohol and drug abuse within their states. They are encouraged to work with state legislators to retract legislation that punishes women for substance abuse during pregnancy.


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 511, November 2011

Reaffirmed 2016

ABSTRACT: Clinicians who provide care for incarcerated women should be aware of the special health care needs of pregnant incarcerated women and the specific issues related to the use of restraints during pregnancy and the postpartum period. The use of restraints on pregnant incarcerated women and adolescents may not only compromise health care but is demeaning and rarely necessary.


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 535, August 2012

ABSTRACT: Increasing numbers of women and adolescent females are incarcerated each year in the United States and they represent an increasing proportion of inmates in the U.S. correctional system. Incarcerated women and adolescent females often come from disadvantaged environments and have high rates of chronic illness, substance abuse, and undetected health problems. Most of these females are of reproductive age and are at high risk of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Understanding the needs of incarcerated women and adol...


Committee Opinion Number 496, August 2011

(Reaffirmed 2013)

ABSTRACT: Compared with men, at-risk alcohol use by women has a disproportionate effect on their health and lives, including reproductive function and pregnancy outcomes. Obstetrician–gynecologists have a key role in screening and providing brief intervention, patient education, and treatment referral for their patients who drink alcohol at risk levels. For women who are not physically addicted to alcohol, tools such as brief intervention and motivational interviewing can be used effectively by the clinician and incorporated into an office visit. For pregnant women and those at risk of pregna...


Committee Opinion Number 640, September 2015

(This Committee Opinion Replaces Committee Opinion Number 545) (Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: Noninvasive prenatal screening that uses cell-free DNA from the plasma of pregnant women offers tremendous potential as a screening method for fetal aneuploidy. A number of laboratories have validated different techniques for the use of cell-free DNA as a screening test for fetal aneuploidy. All tests have a high sensitivity and specificity for trisomy 18 and trisomy 21, regardless of which molecular technique is used. Women whose results are not reported, indeterminate, or uninterpretable (a “no call” test result) from cell-free DNA screening should receive further genetic counseli...


Committee Opinion Number 643, October 2015

Reaffirmed 2017

ABSTRACT: Advances in the understanding of genetic conditions, reproductive technologies, and improved medical and surgical care have enabled an increasing number of women with genetic conditions to achieve a normal pregnancy outcome. However, management of certain genetic conditions during pregnancy is complex and may require a multidisciplinary approach from preconception through the postpartum period. Patients with certain genetic conditions, or those at risk of having a particular genetic condition, should have a preconception evaluation with their obstetrician–gynecologists, genetics spe...


Committee Opinion Number 682, December 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 581, December 2013)

ABSTRACT: Genetic technology has advanced dramatically in the past few decades, and its applications and use in caring for and counseling pregnant women has been transformational in the realm of prenatal diagnosis. Two of the newer genetic technologies in the prenatal setting are chromosomal microarray and whole-exome sequencing. Chromosomal microarray analysis is a method of measuring gains and losses of DNA throughout the human genome. It can identify chromosomal aneuploidy and other large changes in the structure of chromosomes as well as submicroscopic abnormalities that are too small to ...


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 2015)

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...


Committee Opinion Number 691, March 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 318, October 2005;
Committee Opinion Number 432, May 2009;
Committee Opinion Number 442, October 2009;
Committee Opinion Number 469, October 2010;
Committee Opinion Number 486, April 2011)

ABSTRACT: Carrier screening is a term used to describe genetic testing that is performed on an individual who does not have any overt phenotype for a genetic disorder but may have one variant allele within a gene(s) associated with a diagnosis. Information about carrier screening should be provided to every pregnant woman. Carrier screening and counseling ideally should be performed before pregnancy because this enables couples to learn about their reproductive risk and consider the most complete range of reproductive options. A patient may decline any or all screening. When an individual is ...


Committee Opinion Number 690, March 2017

ABSTRACT: Carrier screening, whether targeted or expanded, allows individuals to consider their range of reproductive options. Ultimately, the goal of genetic screening is to provide individuals with meaningful information that they can use to guide pregnancy planning based on their personal values. Ethnic-specific, panethnic, and expanded carrier screening are acceptable strategies for prepregnancy and prenatal carrier screening. Because all of these are acceptable strategies, each obstetrician–gynecologist or other health care provider or practice should establish a standard approach that i...


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