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1.
April 2019

Committee Opinion Number 777, April 2019

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 592, April 2014)

ABSTRACT: Sexual violence continues to be a major public health problem affecting millions of adults and children in the United States. Medical consequences of sexual assault include sexually transmitted infections; mental health conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder; and risk of unintended pregnancy in reproductive-aged survivors of sexual assault. Obstetrician–gynecologists and other women’s health care providers play a key role in the evaluation and management of sexual assault survivors and should screen routinely for a history of sexual assault. When sexual violence is iden...


Committee Opinion Number 653, February 2016

(Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Although there are many positive aspects of social media for adolescents and young adults, there are also risks. Adolescence is a time of significant developmental changes, during which adolescents exhibit a limited capacity for self-regulation and an increased risk of susceptibility to peer pressure and experimentation. Social media can be harmful, and obstetrician–gynecologists may screen their adolescent and young adult patients for high-risk sexual behaviors, especially if sexualized text communication (sexting), exposure to pornography, online dating, or other risk-taking behav...


Committee Opinion Number 683, January 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 508, October 2011) (Reaffirmed 2019)

ABSTRACT: A key element of an organizational safety culture is maintaining an environment of professionalism that encourages communication and promotes high-quality care. Behavior that undermines a culture of safety, including disruptive or intimidating behavior, has a negative effect on the quality and safety of patient care. Intimidating behavior and disruptive behavior are unprofessional and should not be tolerated. Confronting disruptive individuals is difficult. Co-workers often are reluctant to report disruptive behavior because of fear of retaliation and the stigma associated with “bl...


Committee Opinion Number 671, September 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 324, November 2005) (Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Over the past decades, the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) has increased dramatically worldwide and has made pregnancy possible for many infertile couples. Although the perinatal risks that may be associated with ART and ovulation induction are much higher in multifetal gestations, even singletons achieved with ART and ovulation induction may be at higher risk than singletons from naturally occurring pregnancies. However, it remains unclear to what extent these associations might be related to the underlying cause(s) of infertility. Before initiating ART or ovulation i...


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 665, June 2016

(Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Considerable uncertainty exists about what constitutes appropriate levels of protection for adolescents as research participants and about the need for parental permission. The ethical principles that govern research include respect for individuals, beneficence, and justice, as articulated in the Belmont Report. Researchers should be familiar with and adhere to current federal regulations 45 C.F.R. § 46, and federal and state laws that affect research with minors. Investigators should understand the importance of caregiver permission—and ethically appropriate situations in which to ...


Committee Opinion Number 613, November 2014

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 424, January 2009) (Reaffirmed 2019)

ABSTRACT: Safe, legal abortion is a necessary component of women’s health care. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports the availability of high-quality reproductive health services for all women and is committed to improving access to abortion. Access to abortion is threatened by state and federal government restrictions, limitations on public funding for abortion services and training, stigma, violence against abortion providers, and a dearth of abortion providers. Legislative restrictions fundamentally interfere with the patient-provider relationship and decrease a...


Committee Opinion Number 711, August 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 524, May 2012) (Reaffirmed 2019)

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 649, December 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 317, October 2005) (Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Projections suggest that people of color will represent most of the U.S. population by 2050, and yet significant racial and ethnic disparities persist in women’s health and health care. Although socioeconomic status accounts for some of these disparities, factors at the patient, practitioner, and health care system levels contribute to existing and evolving disparities in women’s health outcomes. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is committed to the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities in the health and health care of women and encourages obstetrician–g...


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 624, February 2015

Reaffirmed 2019

ABSTRACT: Cytology-based cervical cancer screening programs require a number of elements to be successful. Certain low-resource settings, like the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands, lack these elements. Implementing alternative cervical cancer screening strategies in low-resource settings can provide consistent, accessible screening opportunities.


12.
February 2012

Committee Opinion Number 518, February 2012

(Reaffirmed 2019)

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...


13.
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 591, March 2014

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 470, October 2010). (Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Overweight and obesity are epidemic in the United States. Obesity is a risk factor for numerous conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and arthritis. The prevalence of obesity is high, exceeding 30% in adult women and men. Many women, irrespective of demographic characteristics or income, are vulnerable to becoming overweight or obese because of limited resources for physical activity and healthy food choices, work commitments, and family demands. Clinicians and public health officials should address not only i...


Committee Opinion Number 676, October 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 585, February 2014) (Reaffirmed 2019)

ABSTRACT: Health literacy is defined as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand the basic health information and services they need to make appropriate health decisions. Multiple factors affect a patient’s understanding of health information, including cultural factors, a physician’s health knowledge and communication skills, the demands of the situation, the environment in which the health information is being conveyed, and time constraints. The responsibility for recognizing and addressing the problem of limited health literacy lies with all enti...


Committee Opinion Number 752, September 2018

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 635, June 2015)

ABSTRACT: Given the enormous advances in the prevention of perinatal transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), it is clear that early identification and treatment of all pregnant women with HIV is the best way to prevent neonatal infection and also improve women’s health. Furthermore, new evidence suggests that early initiation of antiretroviral therapy in the course of infection is beneficial for individuals infected with HIV and reduces the rate of sexual transmission to partners who are not infected. Screening should be performed after women have been notified that HIV screening ...


Committee Opinion Number 772, March 2019

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 661, April 2016)

ABSTRACT: Immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases is an essential component of women’s primary and preventive health care. Many studies have shown that a recommendation from an obstetrician–gynecologist or other health care provider for a vaccine is one of the strongest influences on patient acceptance. Obstetrician–gynecologists and other health care providers should develop a standard process for assessing and documenting the vaccination status of patients and for recommending and administering vaccines. If allowed by state law, obstetrician–gynecologists and other health care pro...


(Reaffirmed July 2016)

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists find the targeting of women of all ages by the tobacco industry unconscionable and strongly oppose the practice.


Committee Opinion Number 490, May 2011

(Replaces No. 320, November 2005) (Reaffirmed 2019)

Abstract: Actively involving patients in the planning of health services is recommended as a means of improving the quality of care. This can increase patient engagement and reduce risk resulting in improved outcomes, satisfaction, and treatment adherence.


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)

(Reaffirmed 2019)

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 ...


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