Prenatal screening for congenital anomalies

Exploring midwives' perceptions of counseling clients with religious backgrounds

Janneke T. Gitsels-van der Wal, Judith Manniën, Lisanne A. Gitsels, Hans S. Reinders, Pieternel S. Verhoeven, Mohammed Ghaly, Trudy Klomp, Eileen K. Hutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: In the Netherlands, prenatal screening follows an opting in system and comprises two non-invasive tests: the combined test to screen for trisomy 21 at 12 weeks of gestation and the fetal anomaly scan to detect structural anomalies at 20 weeks. Midwives counsel about prenatal screening tests for congenital anomalies and they are increasingly having to counsel women from religious backgrounds beyond their experience. This study assessed midwives' perceptions and practices regarding taking client's religious backgrounds into account during counseling. As Islam is the commonest non-western religion, we were particularly interested in midwives' knowledge of whether pregnancy termination is allowed in Islam.Methods: This exploratory study is part of the DELIVER study, which evaluated primary care midwifery in the Netherlands between September 2009 and January 2011. A questionnaire was sent to all 108 midwives of the twenty practices participating in the study.Results: Of 98 respondents (response rate 92%), 68 (69%) said they took account of the client's religion. The two main reasons for not doing so were that religion was considered irrelevant in the decision-making process and that it should be up to clients to initiate such discussions. Midwives' own religious backgrounds were independent of whether they paid attention to the clients' religious backgrounds. Eighty midwives (82%) said they did not counsel Muslim women differently from other women. Although midwives with relatively many Muslim clients had more knowledge of Islamic attitudes to terminating pregnancy in general than midwives with relatively fewer Muslim clients, the specific knowledge of termination regarding trisomy 21 and other congenital anomalies was limited in both groups.Conclusion: While many midwives took client's religion into account, few knew much about Islamic beliefs on prenatal screening for congenital anomalies. Midwives identified a need for additional education. To meet the needs of the changing client population, counselors need more knowledge of religious opinions about the termination of pregnancy and the skills to approach religious issues with clients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number237
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2014

Fingerprint

Midwifery
Prenatal Diagnosis
Counseling
Islam
Religion
Pregnancy
Down Syndrome
Netherlands
Primary Health Care
Decision Making
Education

Keywords

  • Congenital anomalies
  • Counseling
  • Cultural competency
  • Islam
  • Prenatal screening
  • Religion
  • Shared decision-making
  • Termination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Cite this

Gitsels-van der Wal, J. T., Manniën, J., Gitsels, L. A., Reinders, H. S., Verhoeven, P. S., Ghaly, M., ... Hutton, E. K. (2014). Prenatal screening for congenital anomalies: Exploring midwives' perceptions of counseling clients with religious backgrounds. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 14(1), [237]. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2393-14-237

Prenatal screening for congenital anomalies : Exploring midwives' perceptions of counseling clients with religious backgrounds. / Gitsels-van der Wal, Janneke T.; Manniën, Judith; Gitsels, Lisanne A.; Reinders, Hans S.; Verhoeven, Pieternel S.; Ghaly, Mohammed; Klomp, Trudy; Hutton, Eileen K.

In: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, Vol. 14, No. 1, 237, 19.06.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gitsels-van der Wal, Janneke T. ; Manniën, Judith ; Gitsels, Lisanne A. ; Reinders, Hans S. ; Verhoeven, Pieternel S. ; Ghaly, Mohammed ; Klomp, Trudy ; Hutton, Eileen K. / Prenatal screening for congenital anomalies : Exploring midwives' perceptions of counseling clients with religious backgrounds. In: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2014 ; Vol. 14, No. 1.
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abstract = "Background: In the Netherlands, prenatal screening follows an opting in system and comprises two non-invasive tests: the combined test to screen for trisomy 21 at 12 weeks of gestation and the fetal anomaly scan to detect structural anomalies at 20 weeks. Midwives counsel about prenatal screening tests for congenital anomalies and they are increasingly having to counsel women from religious backgrounds beyond their experience. This study assessed midwives' perceptions and practices regarding taking client's religious backgrounds into account during counseling. As Islam is the commonest non-western religion, we were particularly interested in midwives' knowledge of whether pregnancy termination is allowed in Islam.Methods: This exploratory study is part of the DELIVER study, which evaluated primary care midwifery in the Netherlands between September 2009 and January 2011. A questionnaire was sent to all 108 midwives of the twenty practices participating in the study.Results: Of 98 respondents (response rate 92{\%}), 68 (69{\%}) said they took account of the client's religion. The two main reasons for not doing so were that religion was considered irrelevant in the decision-making process and that it should be up to clients to initiate such discussions. Midwives' own religious backgrounds were independent of whether they paid attention to the clients' religious backgrounds. Eighty midwives (82{\%}) said they did not counsel Muslim women differently from other women. Although midwives with relatively many Muslim clients had more knowledge of Islamic attitudes to terminating pregnancy in general than midwives with relatively fewer Muslim clients, the specific knowledge of termination regarding trisomy 21 and other congenital anomalies was limited in both groups.Conclusion: While many midwives took client's religion into account, few knew much about Islamic beliefs on prenatal screening for congenital anomalies. Midwives identified a need for additional education. To meet the needs of the changing client population, counselors need more knowledge of religious opinions about the termination of pregnancy and the skills to approach religious issues with clients.",
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