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A meta-synthesis of pregnant women’s decision-making processes with regard to antenatal screening for Down syndrome

Biomedical Sciences Research Institute Computer Science Research Institute Environmental Sciences Research Institute Nanotechnology & Advanced Materials Research Institute

Reid, Bernie, Sinclair, Marlene, Barr, Owen, Dobbs, Frank and Crealey, Grainne (2009) A meta-synthesis of pregnant women’s decision-making processes with regard to antenatal screening for Down syndrome. Social Science and Medicine, 69 (11). pp. 1561-1573. [Journal article]

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.09.006

Abstract

The diffusion of antenatal screening programmes for Down syndrome has triggered much discussion about their powerful potential to enhance pregnant women’s autonomy and reproductive choices. Simultaneously, considerable debate has been engendered by concerns that such programmes may directly contribute to the emergence of new and complex ethical, legal and social dilemmas for women. Given such discussion and debate, an examination of women’s decision-making within the context of antenatal screening for Down syndrome is timely. This paper aims to undertake a meta-synthesis ofqualitative studies examining the factors influencing pregnant women’s decisions to accept or decline antenatal screening for Down syndrome. The meta-synthesis aims to create more comprehensive understandings and to develop theory which might enable midwives and other healthcare professionals to better meet the needs of pregnant women as they make their screening decisions. Ten electronic health and social science databases were searched together with a hand-search of eleven journals for papers published in English between 1999 and 2008, using predefined search terms, inclusion and exclusion criteria, and a quality appraisal framework. Nine papers met the criteria for this metasynthesis,providing an international perspective on pregnant women’s decision-making. Twelve themes were identified by consensus and combined into five core concepts. These core concepts were: destination unknown; to choose or not to choose; risk is rarely pure and never simple; treading on dreams, and betwixt and between. A conceptual framework is proposed which incorporates these themes and core concepts, and provides a new insight into pregnant women’s complex decision-making processes with regard to antenatal screening for Down syndrome. However, further research is necessary to determine whether or not the development of a model of decision-making may empower pregnantwomen in making choices about screening.

Item Type:Journal article
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Nursing
Research Institutes and Groups:Institute of Nursing and Health Research
Institute of Nursing and Health Research > Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Institute of Nursing and Health Research > Maternal, Fetal and Infant Research
ID Code:22627
Deposited By:Dr Bernie Reid
Deposited On:18 Jun 2012 11:51
Last Modified:18 Jun 2012 11:51

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