From diagnosis to birth: parents' experience when expecting a child with congenital anomaly

Adv Neonatal Care. 2008 Dec;8(6):348-54. doi: 10.1097/01.ANC.0000342768.94734.23.


Of 350,000 Canadian children born each year, 2% to 3% will have a serious congenital anomaly. Because of recent ultrasound diagnostic improvements and increased frequency of prenatal scans, many anomalies are determined prenatally, with more parents receiving disturbing, unanticipated news of an anomaly. This article highlights the experiences, concerns, and healthcare needs of parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of congenital anomaly during routine ultrasound and choose to continue with the pregnancy. Examples from parent interviews describing their experience complement the sparse literature dealing with this phenomenon. Parents describe their experience from antenatal diagnosis and preparation for the child's birth and subsequent admission to the neonatal intensive care unit. Attention is paid to how neonatal nurses can positively influence this process by attending to parents' feelings or moods. The conclusion includes recommendations for neonatal nursing care for these vulnerable parents.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Alberta
  • Congenital Abnormalities / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis*
  • Rural Population