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Paediatr Child Health. 2012 Oct;17(8):443-6.

Counselling and management for anticipated extremely preterm birth.

[Article in English, French]

Abstract

Extremely preterm birth (birth between 22(0/7) and 25(6/7) weeks' gestational age [GA]) often requires parents to make complex choices about the care of their infant. Health professionals have a significant role in providing information, guidance and support. Parents facing the birth of an extremely preterm infant should have the chance to meet with both obstetrical and paediatric/neonatal care providers to receive accurate information about their infant's prognosis, provided with clarity and compassion. Decision making between parents and health professionals should be an informed and shared process, with documentation of all management decisions. Consultation with and transfer to tertiary perinatal centres are important for the care of both mother and fetus. As the survival of infants born before or at 22 completed weeks' GA remains uncommon, a noninterventional approach is recommended, whereas at 23, 24 and 25 weeks' GA, counselling about outcomes and decision making should be individualized for each infant and family, using factors which influence prognosis. All extremely preterm infants who are not resuscitated, or for whom resuscitation is not successful, must receive compassionate palliative care.

KEYWORDS:

Antenatal counselling; Ethics; Extreme prematurity; Resuscitation

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