Critical Aspects of Decision-Making and Grieving After Diagnosis of Fetal Anomaly

  • Judith L. M. McCoydEmail author


After the diagnosis of a fetal anomaly, women and their partners must make difficult decisions about whether to (1) plan to raise the child with the condition/s, (2) carry the pregnancy for as long as possible and pursue palliative care or perinatal hospice if the condition is life threatening, (3) relinquish the child for adoption, or (4) terminate the pregnancy. The decisions are highly contextual, driven by factors such as the woman’s religious views, beliefs about quality of life, availability biases, access to support networks (both formal and informal), and the woman’s sense of her own ability to cope with the selected outcome. This chapter delineates factors involved with decision-making and also addresses how grief is a part of the outcome for any of these decisions. Women benefit when they are helped to recognize that the diagnosis of a fetal anomaly (or multifetal pregnancy that is likely to have a poor outcome) is where the grief begins and that their decisions are all likely to lead to a situation where they must mourn the imagined, healthy child they intended to have. Strategies for providing care for women and their partners after fetal diagnosis are identified.


Prenatal diagnosis Decision-making Abortion Grief Selective reduction Perinatal hospice 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkRutgers UniversityCamdenUSA

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