Problèmes éthiques posés par l'extrême prématurité: résultats d'une étude qualitative auprès des obstétriciens et des sages-femmes

Translated title of the contribution: Ethical problems of extreme prematurity: results of a qualitative study with obstetricians and midwives

M. Garel, S. Séguret, M. Kaminski, M. Cuttini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Our objective was to explore the practices, attitudes and feelings of obstetricians and midwives in case of extreme prematurity. Population and methods: A qualitative study was conducted as part of a European Concerted Action (EUROBS) in 1999 and 2000 in three tertiary-care maternity units, located in three cities in the northern, southern and central areas of France respectively. Semi-structured, tape-recorded interviews were conducted and were independently analysed by two different researchers using a content analysis. All full-time obstetricians and half of the full-time midwives were eligible for the study. Overall, 17 obstetricians and 30 midwives participated. Results: Both obstetricians and midwives considered that decision-making in case of very preterm births raised ethical problems concerning the mother and the foetus. Despite some birth weight and gestational age criteria defined in advance, management around delivery appeared to be decided on a case-by-case basis. At birth, the neonatologists made the decisions. They were perceived as more inclined than the obstetrical team to initiate intensive care. If the child was born alive, intensive care was started, knowing that it could be withdrawn later, if appropriate. Parents were sometimes involved in decision-making during pregnancy, less frequently at birth or after birth. Discussion and conclusion: Compared with obstetricians, midwives tended to have a less favourable perception of the neonatologists' practices, and to deplore the lack of parental information and involvement in decision-making. Decisions about the obstetrical management and resuscitation of extremely preterm infants are essentially always made on a case-by-case basis. Parents are sometimes involved in decision-making. Midwives express serious concerns about the current practices.

Translated title of the contributionEthical problems of extreme prematurity: results of a qualitative study with obstetricians and midwives
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)945-950
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologie Obstetrique Fertilite
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


  • Ethical dilemmas
  • Midwives
  • Obstetricians
  • Very preterm births

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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