Objective: To identify whether mothers of stillborn babies had had a premonition that their unborn child might not be well and how they dealt with that premonition. Design. A mixed method approach.
Setting: One thousand and thirty-four women answered a web questionnaire.
Sample: Six hundred and fourteen women fulfilled the inclusion criteria of having a stillbirth after the 22nd gestational week and answered questions about premonition.
Methods: Qualitative content analysis was used for the open questions and descriptive statistics for questions with fixed alternatives.
Main outcome measure: The premonition of an unwell unborn baby.
Results: In all, 392 of 614 (64%) of the women had had a premonition that their unborn baby might be unwell; 274 of 614 (70%) contacted their clinic and were invited to come in for a check-up, but by then it was too late because the baby was already dead. A further 88 of 614 (22%) decided to wait until their next routine check-up, believing that the symptoms were part of the normal cycle of pregnancy, and that the fetus would move less towards the end of pregnancy. Thirty women (8%) contacted their clinic, but were told that everything appeared normal without an examination of the baby.
Conclusions: Women need to know that a decrease in fetal movements is an important indicator of their unborn baby's health. Healthcare professionals should not delay an examination if a mother-to-be is worried about her unborn baby's wellbeing.
© 2011 The Authors Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica © 2011 Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology.