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Midwives’ perceptions of their role as facilitators of informed choice in antenatal screening

Authors: Shenaz Ahmed,BSc(Hons),PhD(Lecturer)a,n, LouiseD.Bryant,BSc(Hons),PhD(Lecturer)a,
Phyllis Cole,RN,RM,DPSM(PublicHealthLeadforMaternity)

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A b s t r a c t
Objective: to explore midwives’perceptions oft heir role as facilitators of informed choice in antenatal
screening.
Design: qualitative.
Setting: community midwives,Yorkshire and Humberregion,UK.
Participants: community midwives offering antenatals creening(n¼15).
Method: semi-structured interviews analysed using Thematic Analysis.
Findings: to facilitate informed choice,midwives highlighted both thei mportance and challenges of
engaging in discussio nwith women,remaining non-directive,with in tight time frames,sometimes with
women unable to communicate in English or with complex social needs.
Conclusion: midwives varied in the degree to which they believed it was their role to(1)discuss rather
than just provide information and(2)to check women’sunderstanding of the information provided.
Midwives were concerned about the constraints imposed by first trimester combined screeningin
terms of the limited time in which they had to facilitate informed choice and the women had to make a
decision about screening.To ensure that women understand the options available to them and are able
to exercise an informed choice,clinical guidelines are needed that set out how midwives can actively
facilitate informed screening choices without compromising patient autonomy.This is especially
important given the small‘window of opportunity’ within which combined first trimester screening is a
viable option.
& 2012ElsevierLtd.Allrightsreserved