Women are more likely to be diagnosed with congenital anomalies due to advances in new technologies in medical science. Following prenatal diagnosis of fetal abnormalities, women may be forced to make decisions about whether to continue a pregnancy with fetal abnormalities. This can be a dilemma for the women. The aim of the study was to explore women’s experiences of prenatal diagnosis of fetal abnormalities. A qualitative study was conducted in a referral women’s hospital in Tehran, Iran in 2018. Participants were a purposeful sample of 15 women with prenatal diagnosis of fetal abnormalities. Data were collected by individual, in-depth interviews. The conventional content analysis approach was used to analyze the data. Two main themes “emotional suffering” and “decision-making challenge” were extracted from the participants’ experiences. Emotional suffering consisted of subthemes “commiseration,” “self-blame,” “sense of guilt,” and “projection.” Decision-making challenge included subthemes “lack of support,” “stereotypical beliefs,” and “uncertainty.” The women’s experiences of prenatal diagnosis of fetal abnormalities were associated with emotional suffering and challenges in decision-making to continue or terminate the pregnancy. Strategies need to be employed to improve women’s autonomy in decision-making. Healthcare professionals should be trained in communication skills to provide appropriate counseling to support women with diagnosis of fetal anomalies.
congenital abnormalities, malformations, prenatal
The authors acknowledge Iran University of Medical Sciences for their support of this project. We also thank the Shahid Akbarabadi Clinical research Development Unit (ShACRDU), Iran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS), Tehran, Iran for their collaboration throughout the period of study. We are also grateful to Dr. Nooredin Mohammadi for his guidance and assistance and to the participants who shared their experiences with us.
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Recommended APA Citation
Ranjbar, F., Oskouie, F., Hashemi Dizaji, S., & Gharacheh, M. (2021). Experiences of Iranian Women with Prenatal Diagnosis of Fetal Abnormalities: A Qualitative Study. The Qualitative Report, 26(7), 2282-2296. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2021.4688