Medications to manage end-of-life symptoms in the immediate postpartum period


Perinatal palliative care (PnPC) is a growing field where healthcare providers from multiple disciplines are supporting families and providing holistic care for their babies with life-limiting illnesses. It is important to have an approach that includes the standardized management of end-of-life symptoms that are anticipated around the time of birth.

Areas covered

A need was identified to develop medication orders for the initial pharmacological management of symptoms at end-of-life for infants with life-limiting conditions intended for use outside of an intensive care setting. The choice of medications was based on a review of the literature, discussion with content experts and guided by their ease of use, accessibility and noninvasive route of delivery. The recommendations can be used as a guide for the initial management of common symptoms encountered in perinatal palliative care.

Expert opinion

There are studies looking at many qualitative aspects of perinatal palliative care including perceptions of care, decision-making, and bereavement; however, few specifically focus on symptom management in the delivery room and postpartum ward settings. There is a need for standardization of the medical management of infants born with life-limiting conditions whose parents choose to pursue palliative care.

Lead Researchers

Link to Publication


  1. Emanuela Ferretti

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  2. Christina Vadeboncoeur

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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