Antenatal and intrapartum care of pregnancy complicated by lethal fetal anomaly

Authors

  • Karen McNamara MBBCh BAO MRCPI MSc,

    Registrar
    1. Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Cork and Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland
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  • Keelin O'Donoghue MB BCh BAO FRCOG PhD,

    Consultant Obstetrician Gynaecologist, Senior Lecturer
    1. Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Cork and Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland
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  • Orla O'Connell RGN RM BA Psych MIACP,

    Bereavement Midwife
    1. Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland
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  • Richard A Greene MBBCh BAO FRCOG FRCPI

    Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Director, Corresponding author
    1. National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Cork and Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland
    • Anu Research Centre, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Cork and Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland
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Correspondence: Richard Greene. Email: r.greene@ucc.ie

Abstract

Key content

  • Congenital anomalies are the number one cause of infant mortality in the developed world. Antenatal diagnosis of lethal fetal abnormality is likely to have a profound psychological impact.
  • The multidisciplinary team should aim to meet the medical, emotional and spiritual needs of the family, through appropriate referral in the latter aspect.

Learning objectives

  • To consider the psychological impact of an antenatal diagnosis of lethal fetal abnormality.
  • To review the principles of informing parents about the diagnosis.
  • To provide a framework for the management of a pregnancy involving a lethal fetal anomaly.
  • To increase the awareness of the emotional and spiritual needs of the family.

Ethical issues

  • The dilemma of psychological impact of carrying a pregnancy with a lethal fetal anomaly for a mother and a family.
  • The issues around care including feeding the liveborn baby with an anomaly.

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