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Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2010 Jun;37(2):345-57. doi: 10.1016/j.ogc.2010.02.005.

Ethical issues in obstetrics.

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The Fetal Center, University of Chicago, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, MC 2050, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Obstetricians must become comfortable addressing the ethical issues involved in clinical obstetrics and therefore must have an understanding of the key elements of clinical medical ethics. Balancing the principles of medical ethics can guide clinicians toward solutions to ethical dilemmas encountered in the care of pregnant women. The purpose of this article is to review the ethical foundations of clinical practice, recognize the ethical issues obstetricians face every day in caring for patients, and facilitate decision making. This article discusses the relevant ethical principles, identifies unique features of obstetrical ethics, examines ethical principles as they apply to pregnant patient and her fetus, and thereby, provides a conceptual framework for considering ethical issues and facilitating decision making in clinical obstetrics.

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