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Keywords:

  • first-trimester screening;
  • Down syndrome;
  • maternal anxiety;
  • ultrasound markers;
  • nuchal translucency;
  • nasal bone;
  • cardiac blood flow

Abstract

The articles collected together in this issue describe first-trimester screening for a variety of complications. With the advance of both technology and research, early pregnancy screening is becoming ever more sophisticated and complex. While there are clear benefits to most women receiving early reassurance that their baby is developing as expected, there is no evidence to suggest that an earlier prenatal diagnosis has less long-term emotional impact than at later gestations. The poignancy of ultrasound images for many parents means that it can be especially difficult to manage the anxiety when an ultrasound marker is highlighted as potential cause for concern. They can then face a journey of anxiety-laden uncertainty, which can extend through much of the pregnancy, and even beyond. Professionals involved in screening need to recognise and acknowledge such adverse side-effects and develop the skills necessary to help parents understand and cope with the uncertainties inherent in the process. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.