Investigators: Dr Melody Menezes (1), Professor Sylvia Metcalfe (2), Dr Jan Hodgson (2), Professor Jane Fisher (3), A/Prof Kerry Petersen (4), A/Prof Jane Halliday (2)
1 Monash Ultrasound for Women, Richmond; 2 Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Parkville; 3 Jean Hailes Clinical Research Unit, Monash University, Clayton; 4 School of Law, La Trobe University, Melbourne
Advances in genetic technologies are rapidly expanding the availability and accuracy of prenatal tests. In Australia, ~4% of babies are born with a fetal abnormality, many of which are diagnosed during pregnancy. Our multidisciplinary team will use a collaborative approach to understand how pregnant women are cared for following the diagnosis of a fetal abnormality, and to develop appropriate evidence-based models of supportive care. This study will be the first in Australia to investigate women’s experiences of a prenatal diagnosis (PND) of fetal abnormality immediately following diagnosis. The study aims to (1) explore the psychosocial impact of a PND of fetal abnormality on women; (2) identify the social and professional supports utilised and needed by women and (3) describe the longer term outcomes for women who receive a diagnosis of a fetal abnormality. The project will add to the existing knowledge in this under-researched field and contribute directly to improving the social and clinical care of women together with the education of the health professionals who care for them.