Fetal MRI pp 55-64 | Cite as

The Psychic State of the Pregnant Woman and Prenatal Diagnostic Procedures

  • Katharina Leithner
Part of the Medical Radiology book series (MEDRAD)


Prenatal procedures have a major impact on a woman’s psychological experience during pregnancy. Generally, women expect a confirmation of their expectation of a healthy child during ultrasonography. The detection of a fetal abnormality is a considerably stressful situation. The active decision to terminate a wanted pregnancy following an adverse prenatal diagnosis as well as any loss of a pregnancy, frequently result in acute feelings of grief, despair, and guilt, and may also cause severe long-term psychological sequelae. Invasive procedures are often linked with anxiety about losing the baby and may confront women and their partners with a moral dilemma about terminating the pregnancy. This seems even more evident for multiple pregnancies, which may expose couples to the question of selective feticide or multifetal pregnancy reduction. Psychological support, from the first suspicion of a fetal abnormality, and during the prenatal diagnostic process and after the termination of a pregnancy, is needed to help women and their partners.


Prenatal Care Prenatal Diagnosis Magnetic Resonance Imaging Examination Moral Dilemma Unborn Child 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Chorionic villus sampling


Multifetal pregnancy reduction


Magnetic resonance imaging


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyMedical University ViennaViennaAustria

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