Impact on Parents

Receiving a prenatal diagnosis may be difficult and even traumatic. You may be weighing options, perhaps with little time to decide a course of action. One important consideration is the emotional impact a decision will have on you, as parents. There have been several studies of the emotional impact on parents based on the decision to carry to term or not.

In one study of 405 parents who chose to carry to term following the diagnosis of a life-limiting fetal condition, 97.5% of participants reported an absence of regret in carrying to term. “Parents valued the baby as a part of their family and had opportunities to love, hold, meet, and cherish their child. Participants treasured the time together before and after the birth. Although emotionally difficult, parents articulated an empowering, transformative experience that lingers over time.”1

Another study of infant loss found that while any prenatal or infant loss is traumatic, “Risk of complicated grief was found to be especially high after termination of a pregnancy due to fetal abnormality.”2

In a study of 267 parents who lost a pregnancy due to anencephaly, a fetal anomaly, women who terminated their pregnancy reported significantly more despair and depression than women who continued their pregnancy.3

Parents who carry to term following a prenatal diagnosis can benefit from the support of organizations specializing in prenatal diagnosis care. In a survey of parents who received such support, 96% of responses agreed the support was important to their personal well-being and 100% would encourage other parents experiencing a prenatal diagnosis to carry to term. One parent shared “Regardless of our outcome, it was so important to me to follow through with our journey and do everything in a way that honored the little life I was growing, regardless of the length of that life.”4