Am J Perinatol
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1740251
Clinical Opinion

A Scoping Review of Perinatal Palliative Care: Allowing Parents to Be Parents

1  Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas
Byron C. Calhoun
2  Perinatal Diagnostic Center, Charleston Area Medical Center, Charleston, West Virginia
› Author Affiliations
Funding None.


Objective–Perinatal palliative care (PPC) is an option for patients who discover that their infant has a life-limiting fetal condition, which decreases the burden of the condition using a multidisciplinary approach.

Study Design–This review discusses the landmark literature in the past two decades, which have seen significant growth and development in the concept of PPC.

Results–The literature describes the background, quality, and benefits of offering PPC, as well as the ethical principles that support its being offered in every discussion of fetal life-limiting diagnoses.

Conclusions–PPC shares a similar risk profile to other options after life-limiting diagnosis, including satisfaction with choice of continuation of pregnancy. The present clinical opinion closes by noting common barriers to establishing PPC programs and offers a response to overcome each one.

Key Points

  • Perinatal palliative care serves patients who continue pregnancies with life-limiting fetal anomaly.

  • Perinatal palliative care has a risk profile similar to other options such as termination.

  • Health care providers can serve as champions to extend PPC to patients in their region.

Authors' Contribution

B.C.C. and C.B. conceptualized the work. C.B. curated and analyzed data. C.B. prepared the original draft, and all authors were involved in revising and editing. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

Publication History

Received: 07 July 2021

Accepted: 05 October 2021

Publication Date:
02 December 2021 (online)

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