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Ethics of Prenatal Palliative Care 

Ethics of Prenatal Palliative Care
Ethics of Prenatal Palliative Care

Robert C. Macauley

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date: 17 January 2020

Palliative care can begin before birth, as parents wrestle with a prenatal diagnosis of a serious condition. The options are not limited to terminating the pregnancy or providing maximal treatment upon delivery. Prenatal interventions and focusing on comfort following delivery are also options. This also impacts the method of delivery, for if a pregnant woman’s values demand respect, so also should a request for caesarean section for fetal distress, even in the context of a serious fetal condition. The language one uses also impacts management and outlook, with terms such as “incompatible with life” both inaccurate and misleading. This chapter discusses these issues in the context of palliative care.

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