Introduction Many pregnant women, undergoing prenatal diagnostic testing, experience anxiety and distress at the time of the test and while they are waiting for their results.
Aims and objectives The present study was carried out to investigate the psychological experiences of women undergoing combined first trimester screening for chromosomal abnormalities.
Methodology This is a prospective longitudinal study carried at the Fetal Medicine Unit at the Royal Free Hospital. A total of 115 women attending the foetal medicine unit for the combined screening in the first trimester were interviewed, 100 women completed the forms and were recruited in the study. An informed consent was obtained. The participating women were seen when they first attended the FMU for the first trimester scan. They were interviewed by the research fellows, using a semi-structured questionnaire to assess their anxiety using Spielberg State-Trait-Anxiety Inventory (STAI) scale. Their feeling was catergorised to six caterogries calm, tense, upset, relaxed, content and worried) with a scale of 1(not at all) to 4 (very much). STAI is one of the most frequently used measures of anxiety in applied psychology research and considered to be a reliable and sensitive measure of anxiety. Recalled anxiety was measured by contacting them three weeks later, by the telephone. By this time they had received the results of their combined screening tests. The information gathered was used to assess the psychological effects while they were waiting for their results, to audit our counselling services and to design the debriefing leaflet for the patients.
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