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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...


2.
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 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

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 533, August 2012

(Reaffirmed 2018)

Abstract: Prenatal lead exposure has known adverse effects on maternal health and infant outcomes across a wide range of maternal blood lead levels. Adverse effects of lead exposure are being identified at lower levels of exposure than previously recognized in both children and adults. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the first guidelines regarding the screening and management of pregnant and lactating women who have been exposed to lead.


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 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 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 736, May 2018

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 666, June 2016)

ABSTRACT: The weeks following birth are a critical period for a woman and her infant, setting the stage for long-term health and well-being. To optimize the health of women and infants, postpartum care should become an ongoing process, rather than a single encounter, with services and support tailored to each woman’s individual needs. It is recommended that all women have contact with their obstetrician–gynecologists or other obstetric care providers within the first 3 weeks postpartum. This initial assessment should be followed up with ongoing care as needed, concluding with a comprehensive ...


11.
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 711, August 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 524, May 2012)

ABSTRACT: Opioid use in pregnancy has escalated dramatically in recent years, paralleling the epidemic observed in the general population. To combat the opioid epidemic, all health care providers need to take an active role. Pregnancy provides an important opportunity to identify and treat women with substance use disorders. Substance use disorders affect women across all racial and ethnic groups and all socioeconomic groups, and affect women in rural, urban, and suburban populations. Therefore, it is essential that screening be universal. Screening for substance use should be a part of compr...


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 723, October 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 656, February 2016)

ABSTRACT: Imaging studies are important adjuncts in the diagnostic evaluation of acute and chronic conditions. However, confusion about the safety of these modalities for pregnant and lactating women and their infants often results in unnecessary avoidance of useful diagnostic tests or the unnecessary interruption of breastfeeding. Ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging are not associated with risk and are the imaging techniques of choice for the pregnant patient, but they should be used prudently and only when use is expected to answer a relevant clinical question or otherwise provid...


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 718, September 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion 566, June 2013)

ABSTRACT: The overwhelming majority of morbidity and mortality attributable to pertussis infection occurs in infants who are 3 months and younger. Infants do not begin their own vaccine series against pertussis until approximately 2 months of age. This leaves a window of significant vulnerability for newborns, many of whom contract serious pertussis infections from family members and caregivers, especially their mothers, or older siblings, or both. In 2013, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices published its updated recommendation that a dose of tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria t...


Committee Opinion Number 722, October 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 637, July 2015)

ABSTRACT: Cannabis sativa (marijuana) is the illicit drug most commonly used during pregnancy. The self-reported prevalence of marijuana use during pregnancy ranges from 2% to 5% in most studies. A growing number of states are legalizing marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, and its use by pregnant women could increase even further as a result. Because of concerns regarding impaired neurodevelopment, as well as maternal and fetal exposure to the adverse effects of smoking, women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue marijuana use. Obstetri...


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 661, April 2016

(Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases is an essential component of women’s primary and preventive health care. Despite the importance of vaccination and clear guidance from public health agencies, rates of vaccination lag behind national goals. Obstetrician–gynecologists can play a major role in reducing morbidity and mortality from a range of vaccine-preventable diseases, including pertussis, influenza, human papillomavirus, and hepatitis. Given demonstrated vaccine efficacy and safety, and the large potential for prevention of many infectious diseases that affect adult...


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...


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