If a decision is made to try for a live birth, the researchers recommend cardiovascular support, respiratory support, nutritional support, endocrine support, and body temperature regulation.
The mother's body is also at risk of infection, gestational diabetes, and deep vein thrombosis. In all of the cases reviewed, the babies were delivered prematurely via C-section when either the mother or the fetus went into distress. While post-natal followup was only reported for half of the babies, they all were developing typically and "apparently had no problems related to their exceptional intrauterine circumstances," the researchers wrote.
For Jeffrey Spike, a professor of clinical ethics at the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School who was involved in the case of a brain-dead pregnant woman in the 1990s, so many unknowns mean it's critical to involve the family in the decision-making.
"There's such a long period to have to keep her stable at very high risk that there's no way I would ever say this is ethically obligatory for anybody," Spike said. "It's perfectly likely that after weeks of being very unstable, they can see she's [in distress], and then decide to do a C-section in the middle of the night in the ICU, and then you have to do a C-section of a woman who's been dead for weeks, and it's a nightmare scenario. It's a huge risk."