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Nudge me, help my baby: on other-regarding nudges
  1. Hafez Ismaili M'hamdi1,
  2. Medard Hilhorst1,
  3. Eric A P Steegers2,
  4. Inez de Beaufort1
  1. 1 Department of Medical Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Division of Obstetrics and Prenatal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hafez Ismaili M'hamdi, Department of Medical Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, P.O. Box 2040, Rotterdam 3000 CA, The Netherlands; H.ismailimhamdi{at}


There is an increasing interest in the possibility of using nudges to promote people's health. Following the advances in developmental biology and epigenetics, it is clear that one's health is not always the result of one's own choices. In the period surrounding pregnancy, maternal choice behaviour has a significant influence on perinatal morbidity and mortality as well as the development of chronic diseases later in life. One's health is thus a matter of one's own as well as one's maternal choices. Therefore, self-regarding and other-regarding nudges should be considered as viable strategies to promote health. In this article, we introduce the concept of other-regarding nudges. We use the harm principle and the principle of beneficence to justify these other-regarding nudges. We conclude by stressing the importance of a fair assessment of expectations towards the nudgee, when determining whether a nudge is aimed at preventing harm or promoting a good.

  • Decision-making
  • Embryos and Fetuses
  • Interests of Woman/Fetus/Father
  • Perinatal morbidity
  • Public Health Ethics

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to conceptualising the paper, sourcing material, drafting sections and discussing how different sections should be refined and integrated. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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