Perception of information, expectations and experiences among women and their partners attending a second-trimester routine ultrasound scan

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate pre-scan counselling and the provision of information to parents-to-be, and their expectations before and experiences of a second trimester routine ultrasound scan. In the study, 303 pregnant women and their partners were asked to complete questionnaires before and after the scan. The main purposes of the examination were: dating, ascertaining fetal viability, and detection of multiple gestations. Although scanning for fetal malformations was not the purpose of the examination, 89% of the women and 84% of the men were concerned about this aspect. Even though it has been postulated that more women would not attend the examination if they knew it was for prenatal diagnostic purposes, the results of this study did not support this assumption. Only 57% of the women had received information at their antenatal care centers. A total of 138% of the women and 85% of the men said that they obtained sufficient information at the scan. Anxiety was low before the scan, both among women and men, with the exception of those women who had experienced problems at earlier scans. Positive feelings dominated during the scan and these feelings remained when experiences of the scan were reported by the parents-to-be after they had gone home. It is concluded that a routine second-trimester scan is a positive event for the majority of the participating women and men. In spite of this, we believe that certain measures should be taken to improve pre-scan counselling and the provision of adequate information. Copyright © 1997 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology

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