Ethics in Perinatal Medicine
Background: The current trend in perinatal medicine addresses the challenge posed to newborn survival by newborn prematurity and other morbidities requiring neonatal newborn intensive care. These ethical concerns span through the spectrum of education, clinical practice and research, domicile in obstetrics and neonatology. Effective application of ethics to perinatal medicine requires basic knowledge bioethics in health care and medical research.
Objectives: The objective of the article is to highlight the basic aspects of ethics, review research ethics and practical ethical issues in perinatal medicine and provide an analytical application of the principles involved in bioethics.
Methodology: A search for the relevant literature available on the internet, journal publications, textbooks and monographs was conducted
Result: The basics of ethics span through the definition of medical ethics, ethical codes and bioethics. It also includes the various bioethical orientations (historical, duty-based, utilitarian, feminist, casuistry, communitarian and virtue orientation), together with the guiding principles of modern bioethics and their levels of application (micro-ethical, macro-ethical, meso-ethical and mega-ethical level). Research ethics developed tremendously during the 20th century and it was boosted by a number of regulations such as Nuremberg code, CIOMS, Helsinki declaration, Belmont Report and the Nigerian National Code of Health Research Ethics. Ethics in perinatal medicine focus on medical decision making and foeto-maternal conflict as well as the concept of a foetus as a patient and medical futility. It includes prenatal diagnosis and interventions for severe congenital malformations of the foetus, safe mother hood and cord blood collection and newborn care.
Conclusion: Bioethics is an important component of perinatal medicine. The consideration and application of bioethics in all aspect of perinatal medicine will undoubtedly improve the quality of care for obstetric patients and their newborn infants.