The physician's moral obligations to the pregnant woman, the fetus, and the child

Semin Perinatol. 1998 Jun;22(3):184-8. doi: 10.1016/s0146-0005(98)80033-5.


The moral obligations and ethical duties of health care professionals responsible for the care of a pregnant woman, a fetus, and a child are complex and evolve with gestation and birth. Well-intentioned physicians and others concerned with the interests of pregnant women and their fetuses may disagree about the moral status of the fetus and ethical duties owed to both the woman and fetus. This article lays out a framework for thinking about these issues from several perspectives.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Female
  • Fetus*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Welfare*
  • Perinatal Care
  • Physicians*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care