“Therapeutic” Bed Rest in Pregnancy: Unethical and Unsupported by Data : Obstetrics & Gynecology

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“Therapeutic” Bed Rest in Pregnancy

Unethical and Unsupported by Data

McCall, Christina A. MD; Grimes, David A. MD; Lyerly, Anne Drapkin MD, MA

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Obstetrics & Gynecology 121(6):p 1305-1308, June 2013. | DOI: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e318293f12f

“Therapeutic” bed rest continues to be used widely, despite evidence of no benefit and known harms. In this commentary, we summarize the Cochrane reviews of bed rest and propose an ethical argument for discontinuing this practice. Cochrane systematic reviews do not support “therapeutic” bed rest for threatened abortion, hypertension, preeclampsia, preterm birth, multiple gestations, or impaired fetal growth. This assessment has been echoed in other comprehensive reviews. Prescribing bed rest is inconsistent with the ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, and justice. Hence, if bed rest is to be used, it should be only within a formal clinical trial.

© 2013 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

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