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Periviable birth: executive summary of a joint workshop by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Published:April 10, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2014.02.027
      This is an executive summary of a workshop on the management and counseling issues of women anticipated to deliver at a periviable gestation (broadly defined as 20 0/7 through 25 6/7 weeks of gestation) and the treatment options for the newborn infant. Upon review of the available literature, the workshop panel noted that the rates of neonatal survival and neurodevelopmental disabilities among the survivors vary greatly across the periviable gestations and are significantly influenced by the obstetric and neonatal management practices (eg, antenatal steroid, tocolytic agents, and antibiotic administration; cesarean birth; and local protocols for perinatal care, neonatal resuscitation, and intensive care support). These are, in turn, influenced by the variations in local and regional definitions of limits of viability. Because of the complexities in making difficult management decisions, obstetric and neonatal teams should confer prior to meeting with the family, when feasible. Family counseling should be coordinated with the goal of creating mutual trust, respect, and understanding and should incorporate evidence-based counseling methods. Since clinical circumstances can change rapidly with increasing gestational age, counseling should include discussion of the benefits and risks of various maternal and neonatal interventions at the time of counseling. There should be a plan for follow-up counseling as clinical circumstances evolve. The panel proposed a research agenda and recommended developing educational curricula on the care and counseling of families facing the birth of a periviable infant.
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