The travesty of choosing after positive prenatal diagnosis

Margarete Sandelowski, Julie Barroso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Objective: To integrate the findings of qualitative studies of expectant parents receiving positive prenatal diagnosis. Data sources: Seventeen published and unpublished reports appearing between 1984 and 2001 and retrieved between December of 2002 and March of 2003. The electronic databases searched include Academic Search Elite, AIDS Information Online (AIDSLINE), Anthropological Index Online, Anthropological Literature, Black Studies, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Digital Dissertations, Dissertation Abstracts Index (DAI), Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC), MEDLINE, PsycInfo, Public Affairs Information Service (PAIS), PubMed, Social Science Abstracts (SocSci Abstracts), Social Science Citation Index, Social Work Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts (Sociofile), Women's Resources International, and Women's Studies. Study selection: Qualitative studies involving expectant parents living in the United States of any race, ethnicity, nationality, or class who learned during any time in pregnancy of any fetal impairment by any means of diagnosis were eligible for inclusion. Data extraction: Metasummary techniques, including the calculation of frequency effect sizes, were used to aggregate the findings. Metasynthesis techniques, including constant comparison analysis and the reciprocal translation of concepts, were used to interpret the findings. Data synthesis: The topical emphasis in the findings is on the termination of pregnancy following positive diagnosis. The thematic emphasis is on the dilemmas of choice and decision making. Positive prenatal diagnosis was for couples an experience of chosen losses and lost choices. Couples managed information to minimize stigmatization and cognitive dissonance. Conclusions: Existing guidelines for caring for couples after perinatal losses must accommodate the chosen loss experientially defining positive prenatal diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-318
Number of pages12
JournalJOGNN - Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2005


  • Perinatal loss
  • Prenatal diagnosis
  • Qualitative metasynthesis
  • Research integration
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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