Professionally responsible advocacy for women and children first during the COVID-19 pandemic: guidance from World Association of Perinatal Medicine and International Academy of Perinatal Medicine

Chervenak F. A. , McCullough L. B. , Grunebaum A., Bornstein E., Sen C., Stanojevic M., ...More

JOURNAL OF PERINATAL MEDICINE, vol.48, no.9, pp.867-873, 2020 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 48 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1515/jpm-2020-0329
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.867-873


The goal of perinatal medicine is to provide professionally responsible clinical management of the conditions and diagnoses of pregnant, fetal, and neonatal patients. The New York Declaration of the International Academy of Perinatal Medicine, "Women and children First - or Last?" was directed toward the ethical challenges of perinatal medicine in middle-income and low-income countries. The global COVID-19 pandemic presents common ethical challenges in all countries, independent of their national wealth. In this paper the World Association of Perinatal Medicine provides ethics-based guidance for professionally responsible advocacy for women and children first during the COVID-19 pandemic. We first present an ethical framework that explains ethical reasoning, clinically relevant ethical principles and professional virtues, and decision making with pregnant patients and parents. We then apply this ethical framework to evidence-based treatment and its improvement, planned home birth, ring-fencing obstetric services, attendance of spouse or partner at birth, and the responsible management of organizational resources. Perinatal physicians should focus on the mission of perinatal medicine to put women and children first and frame-shifting when necessary to put the lives and health of the population of patients served by a hospital first.