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When is the right time to discuss delivery room research with parents?
Date:2/12/2014

t to develop a method of consent for clinical studies in the delivery room that satisfies the ethical requirements of the study but also makes it easier for the parents to understand what questions we are trying to answer through the research."

At any given time, neonatal care units have several ongoing clinical research trials in delivery room settings. Scientists need to enroll newborns who have problems at delivery into studies to determine the best practices to care for babies in the future.

For example, Strand's current research seeks the best way to treat a baby with meconium-stained amniotic fluid a condition in which a newborn can breathe a combination of fecal matter and amniotic fluid into the lungs at the time of delivery.

"Our standard treatment is to insert a breathing tube into the windpipe and suction whatever meconium might be there. But there are risks to doing this, and we know from other research that active babies don't benefit from this treatment," Strand said. "So, I would like to study that very select group of newborns: non-vigorous infants delivered through meconium-stained fluid."

But Strand's challenge in conducting her study is identifying those infants who would qualify to participate and getting consent from the parent at an emotionally charged time.

"Finding the appropriate time to talk to families about this question is tricky. One option is going to the obstetrician's office and collecting consent from as many mothers as possible who are at 36 weeks pregnant. But probably less than 2 percent of those mothers will deliver babies eligible for the study.

"So, should I introduce the possibility of complicated newborn care, resuscitation issues, possible respiratory failure, meconium aspiration syndrome and other problems that far before delivery? Is that fair to bring this worry to the mothers when they probably won't face this situation?" Strand said.

At this point, Strand
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Contact: Riya Anandwala
ranandwa@slu.edu
314-977-8018
Saint Louis University
Source:Eurekalert  

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