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Keywords:

  • Antenatal diagnosis;
  • Congenital abnormality;
  • Fetal abnormality;
  • Maternal-fetal attachment;
  • Pregnancy experience;
  • Prenatal attachment;
  • Prenatal diagnosis;
  • Prenatal screening;
  • Pre-natal testing

Objective: To gain an understanding of the experience of pregnancy while carrying a child with a known, nonlethal congenital abnormality.

Design: Phenomenological study.

Setting: The participants were interviewed in their own homes, a quiet clinic room, or another location comfortable for them.

Participants: Fifteen pregnant women carrying a child with a nonlethal, congenital abnormality participated.

Results: The pregnancy experience was of a paradoxical nature. Knowledge of the fetal diagnosis resulted in both positive and negative consequences. Three major themes were common to the experience for women: Time is good, but it is also the enemy; you grieve, but you do not grieve; my baby's not perfect, but (s)he's still mine.

Conclusion: Because of the paradoxical feelings experienced, women need as much information as they request regarding the abnormality, its treatment, and prognosis. An appointment during pregnancy with pediatric specialists to discuss the plan for care of the infant after delivery is beneficial. Health care providers should support women's prenatal attachment during this unique pregnancy.