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1.
January 2019

Committee Opinion Number 762, January 2019

ABSTRACT: The goal of prepregnancy care is to reduce the risk of adverse health effects for the woman, fetus, and neonate by working with the woman to optimize health, address modifiable risk factors, and provide education about healthy pregnancy. All those planning to initiate a pregnancy should be counseled, including heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and gender nonconforming individuals. Counseling can begin with the following question: “Would you like to become pregnant in the next year?” Prepregnancy counseling is appropriate whether the reprodu...


2.
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 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 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 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 642, October 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 450, December 2009) (Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Unintended pregnancy persists as a major public health problem in the United States. Although lowering unintended pregnancy rates requires multiple approaches, individual obstetrician–gynecologists may contribute by increasing access to contraceptive implants and intrauterine devices. Obstetrician–gynecologists should encourage consideration of implants and intrauterine devices for all appropriate candidates, including nulliparous women and adolescents. Obstetrician–gynecologists should adopt best practices for long-acting reversible contraception insertion. Obstetrician–gynecologis...


9.
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...


10.
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 756, October 2018

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 658, February 2016)

ABSTRACT: As reproductive health experts and advocates for women’s health who work in conjunction with other obstetric and pediatric health care providers, obstetrician–gynecologists are uniquely positioned to enable women to achieve their infant feeding goals. Maternity care policies and practices that support breastfeeding are improving nationally; however, more work is needed to ensure all women receive optimal breastfeeding support during prenatal care, during their maternity stay, and after the birth occurs. Enabling women to breastfeed is a public health priority because, on a populatio...


Committee Opinion Number 680, November 2016

(Reaffirmed 2019)

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 681, December 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 520, March 2012) (Reaffirmed 2019)

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 739, June 2018

ABSTRACT: The American Medical Association reported in 2015 that physicians 65 years and older currently represent 23% of the physicians in the United States. Unlike other professions such as commercial airline pilots, who by law must have regular health screenings starting at 40 years and must retire at 65 years, few health care institutions or systems have any policies regarding the late-career physician. Although there is an increase in accumulated wisdom and verbal knowledge with age, there is also an overall decline in recall memory, cognitive processing efficiency, and executive reasoni...


Committee Opinion Number 612, November 2014

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

ABSTRACT: Access to safe abortion hinges upon the availability of trained abortion providers. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports education for students in health care fields as well as clinical training for residents and advanced practice clinicians in abortion care in order to increase the availability of trained abortion providers. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports the expansion of abortion education and an increase in the number and types of trained abortion providers in order to ensure women’s access to safe abortions. Integrate...


Committee Opinion Number 423, January 2009

(Reaffirmed 2018)

Abstract: Applying the principles of motivational interviewing to everyday patient interactions has been proved effective in eliciting "behavior change" that contributes to positive health outcomes and improved patient–physician communication. Current Procedural Terminology codes are available to aid in obtaining reimbursement for time spent engaging patients in motivational interviewing for some conditions.


Committee Opinion Number 457, June 2010

(Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Emergency plans that specifically address the needs of women, infants, and children during disasters are currently underdeveloped in the United States. Pregnant women, infants, and children are adversely affected by disasters resulting in an increased number of infants with intrauterine growth restriction, low birth weight, and a small head circumference. There is an increased incidence of preterm delivery. To provide for a healthy pregnancy and delivery, pregnant women affected by disasters need to be assured of a continuation of prenatal care. Those in the third trimester should b...


Committee Opinion Number 586, February 2014

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 429, March 2009) (Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Rural women experience poorer health outcomes and have less access to health care than urban women. Many rural areas have limited numbers of health care providers, especially women’s health providers. Rural America is heterogeneous where problems vary depending on the region and state. Health care professionals should be aware of this issue and advocate for reducing health disparities in rural women.


Committee Opinion Number 748, August 2018

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 639, September 2015)(Reaffirmed 2019)

ABSTRACT: Information from vital records is critical to identify and quantify health-related issues and to measure progress toward quality improvement and public health goals. In particular, maternal and infant mortality serve as important indicators of the nation’s health, thereby influencing policy development, funding of programs and research, and measures of health care quality. Accurate and timely documentation of births and deaths is essential to high-quality vital statistics. This Committee Opinion describes the process by which births, maternal deaths, and fetal deaths are registered;...


Committee Opinion Number 390, December 2007

Reaffirmed 2019

ABSTRACT: Physicians vary widely in their familiarity with ethical theories and methods and their sensitivity toward ethical issues. It is important for physicians to improve their skills in addressing ethical questions. Obstetrician–gynecologists who are familiar with the concepts of medical ethics will be better able to approach complex ethical situations in a clear and structured way. By considering the ethical frameworks involving principles, virtues, care and feminist perspectives, concern for community, and case precedents, they can enhance their ability to make ethically justifiable cl...


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