Lisa M. Mitchell, PhD, is a medical anthropologist in the Anthropology Department, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada. One area of her research focuses on reproductive technology, ultrasound, and perinatal loss.
Women's Experiences of Unexpected Ultrasound Findings
Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
2004 American College of Nurse Midwives
Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health
Volume 49, Issue 3, pages 228–234, May-June 2004
How to Cite
Mitchell, L. M. (2004), Women's Experiences of Unexpected Ultrasound Findings. Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health, 49: 228–234. doi: 10.1016/S1526-9523(03)00490-2
- Issue published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
- fetal ultrasonography;
- psychosocial aspects
Ultrasound imaging is an important screening and diagnostic tool in prenatal care, but for many couples in Canada and the United States, it is primarily a meaningful social ritual of seeing and meeting their baby. This article examines how women perceive ultrasound when they receive unexpected abnormal ultrasound findings. Drawing from qualitative analysis of semistructured interviews with 42 Canadian women, the article discusses women's reactions to receiving unexpected findings, and their perspectives on disclosure of results and on seeing the impaired fetus. Implications are discussed for practitioners regarding prescan counseling, informed choice, and disclosure of abnormal ultrasound findings.