Decision‐making and future pregnancies after a positive fetal anomaly screen: A scoping review

Shorey, Shefaly, Lalor, Joan, Pereira, Travis Lanz‐Brian, Jarašiūnaitė‐Fedosejeva, Gabija and Downe, Soo orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2848-2550 (2023) Decision‐making and future pregnancies after a positive fetal anomaly screen: A scoping review. Journal of Clinical Nursing . ISSN 0962-1067

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Aims and Objectives
To examine and consolidate literature on the experiences and decision-making of parents following a screen positive result for a potential fetal anomaly and/or diagnosis of an actual anomaly in a previous pregnancy.

Prenatal screening consists of any diagnostic modality that is aimed at acquiring information about a fetus or an embryo; however, the entire process is highly stressful for parents, especially if there was a previous screen positive result, but no abnormality was detected in the final result.

Eight electronic databases (PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Scopus, Web of Science, ProQuest Theses and Dissertations and were searched from each database's inception until February 2022. This scoping review was guided by Arksey and O'Malley's framework and was reported in accordance with the PRISMA-ScR checklist. Braun and Clarke's thematic analysis framework was utilised.

Thirty-one studies were eligible for inclusion. Two main themes (reliving the fear while maintaining hope, and bridging the past and future pregnancies) and six subthemes were identified.

A fetal anomaly diagnosis in pregnancy had a mixed impact on the attitudes of parents toward a future pregnancy. Some parents were fearful of reliving a traumatic experience, while others were determined to have a healthy child and grow their family. Parents generally expressed a greater preference for non-invasive over invasive prenatal testing due to the procedural risks involved.

Relevance to Clinical Practice
There is a need for healthcare professionals to provide psychosocial and emotional support to parents so that they can achieve resolution for their previous pregnancy. Healthcare professionals' ability to provide informational support also enables these parents to make informed decision and understand their reproductive outcomes. Additionally, healthcare administration and policymakers should reconsider current neonatal or pregnancy loss bereavement guidelines to improve the inclusivity of fathers.

Patient or Public Contribution
No patient or public contribution.

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