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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 71-76

A pilot study of women's experiences after being offered late termination of pregnancy for severe fetal anomaly

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, Durban and Lower Umfolozi War Memorial Hospital, Empangeni, South Africa
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Private Practice, Pretoria, South Africa
3 Academic Leader for Research, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
4 Women's Health and Research Unit, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1119-3077.170825

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Objective: We investigated the attitudes and experiences of women pregnant with an anomalous fetus after being offered late termination of pregnancy (LTOP) before and after delivery or TOP. Methods: This was a pre- and post-intervention structured interview questionnaire-based study. Pregnant women with severe fetal abnormalities (lethal and nonlethal) diagnosed after 24 weeks gestation were recruited. All were managed according to standard protocol. Interviews were conducted by the researcher over a 3 months period (August-October 2010). Experiences, demographic profile, and sociocultural characteristics were compared between the groups that accepted and declined LTOP. Results: Fifteen pregnant women with severe fetal anomalies were enrolled. Around 5 (33.3%) requested termination, and 10 (66.6%) continued the pregnancy. Those who continued their pregnancies were significantly younger (mean age 25 years, range 20–32 years) than those who requested termination (mean age 31 years, range 22–35 years) (P < 0.05). Mean parity was one (range 0–3) in the patients who continued the pregnancy, and 2 (1–3) in those who terminated it. Partners and immediate family members influenced decision making. All women reported a positive experience of the treatment protocol. Conclusion: The decision to continue or terminate a pregnancy for severe fetal abnormalities diagnosed after viability is complex and variable. Younger primigravidas were more likely to continue with the pregnancy in the hope that the baby would be born normal. Good support from partners and family, after delivery, was associated with less regret about the decision that had been made.

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