An Evidence-Based Overview of Prenatal Consultation With a Focus on Infants Born at the Limits of Viability
Griswold, Katherine J.
Fanaroff, Jonathan M.
Pediatrics 2010 April; 125(4): e931-e937
Before the delivery of a premature infant, a prenatal consultation between parents and physicians provides the opportunity to establish a trusting relationship and create a supportive environment for decision-making concerning neonatal resuscitation. The ideal consult enables physicians to educate parents about preterm delivery and potential outcomes for their infant while providing parents with the time to ask questions and express their values. The uncertainty that surrounds many decisions in the treatment and resuscitation of infants born at the limits of viability creates a situation in which joint responsibility for decision-making between parents and physicians is vital. In this review we examine ethical considerations regarding the resuscitation of infants born at the limits of viability and present the current policies established by the Neonatal Resuscitation Program and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The parental and physician perspectives regarding the consultation experience are presented also. Finally, a model for the prenatal consultation is introduced with suggestions for the incorporation of morbidity and mortality data as well as the structure and approach to discussion with parents with threatened preterm delivery.
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