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Psychological Impact of the Announcement of a Fetal Abnormality on Pregnant Women and on Professionals

Authors

  • J.-J. DETRAUX,

    1. Center for Study and Training in Special Education, and Department for Developmental Psychology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
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  • FR. GILLOT-DE VRIES,

    1. Center for Study and Training in Special Education, and Department for Developmental Psychology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
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  • S. VANDEN EYNDE,

    1. Center for Study and Training in Special Education, and Department for Developmental Psychology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
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  • A. COURTOIS,

    1. Center for Study and Training in Special Education, and Department for Developmental Psychology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
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  • A. DESMET

    1. Center for Study and Training in Special Education, and Department for Developmental Psychology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
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Abstract

Abstract: The psychological impact of the announcement of a fetal abnormality after ultrasound examinations is examined in relation to the building up of the mother-child attachment. It represents the “psychological cost” of such techniques. Understanding the subjective experience of the patients could increase the effectiveness of clinical practice. We have assumed that the relationship between parents and professionals is a critical element that contributes to the establishment of an emotional link between the mother and her child. Pregnant women, mothers, and professionals were approached for interviews and by questionnaires including anamnestic data, opinions, and projective methods. The results showed that the women with fetopathy were less centered on themselves during the pregnancy. Long-term effects were found to be important. In pregnant women, ultrasound examination was experienced with satisfaction even if some ambivalence remained. In mothers with an impaired child, ultrasound examination was viewed as a technique with low reliability. Professionals reported not having preparation in making such an announcement. We concluded that a need exists for better management of the modalities of ultrasound examinations. Many parents have expressed their need for psychological support.

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