ACOG Quietly changes Baby to Fetus in Patient Pregnancy Handout

MESA, ARIZONA – 24 Nov, 2017 – A very subtle word change in a widely distributed patient handout may have major political implications.  The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a major advocacy group of women’s heatlth care physicians, quietly replaced Patient Handout #156, entitled “How Your Baby Grows During Pregnancy,” with a new version replacing the word “baby” with “fetus.”  The new September 2017 version, “How Your Fetus Grows During Pregnancy” replaces the June 2015 edition, with essentially no other major changes.

It is thought that most OB/GYN’s did not notice the change as it was not announced or publicized in the organization’s journal.  The change came to the attention of most Obstetricians only after a November 22nd  email was sent out announcing all of the new resources available, with the newly titled handout included in the list.  The handout is meant to be distributed to patients at their first Obstetrical visits, and is part of a collection of handouts published by ACOG for patient counseling.   

“It makes a really big difference.”  said Dr. Greg Marchand, a board certified OBGYN.  “There’s some really big political implications here.  We are talking about the difference between telling a newly pregnant mom that she is pregnant with a baby or pregnant with a fetus.  This is early in pregnancy, when pregnancy termination is still something many new moms are considering.”

Although Dr. Marchand stated that the new handout doesn’t contain any new recommendations or changes in the care that Obstetricians give, it speaks volumes to the expectations of the Obstetrician in early pregnancy care.  He stated this could be offensive to many physicians opposed to abortion, by forcing the term “fetus” into a discussion that otherwise might not contain much awareness of the availability of termination in the first trimester.

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