Pregnancy termination following prenatal diagnosis: emotional, cognitive and social impacts for women
ESC Congress Library. Deak C. 05/28/14; 50434; A-016
Ms. Csilla Deak
Ms. Csilla Deak
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Abstract
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1. Objectives. Because fetal anomalies are usually detected at the second or third trimester of the pregnancy, terminations of pregnancy following prenatal diagnosis occur late in the gestational phase. This makes the event very hard to support and create traumatic responses (Kersting et al, 2005). We hypothesize that such interventions elicit high intensity emotional reactions that can persist for a long time and create a particular need of social support. 2. Method. This study’s aim was to investigate the emotional, cognitive and social experiences of 123 women after pregnancy termination. Participants were recruited through French-speaking on-line forums having “pregnancy termination for medical reasons” as discussion topic. The questionnaire contained measures of social sharing of emotions (Rimé, 2009) and measures on emotional and cognitive impacts. The measures referred to two different moments in time: just after the intervention and at the moment of remembering the event. 3. Results. Participants’ reported intensity of emotional reaction to the intervention reached an average of 8.98 on a scale 1-10 whereas the residual intensity still averaged 8.41 at the moment of their recall. Thus, the emotional intensity did not decrease significantly over time. Sadness, anxiety, guilt and anger were the prevalent emotions experienced following termination and at the recall. On the cognitive level, a negative impact was found on basic believes and self-image, and there was a growth of contra-factual beliefs and need for meaning. These emotional and cognitive impacts stayed constant in time, even after more than 3 years. Women experienced a great urge to speak about the termination after it happened with a mean of 4.86 on a scale 1-6, a value virtually unchanged at the time of their participation (M = 4.55). The social sharing of emotions is maximal at the moment of termination and it decreased with time even if the need for social sharing stayed high regardless of elapsed time. This means that the effective sharing of emotions is not in line with the need for sharing of emotions. Probably because of women’s apprehension of social judgment leads them to restrain their emotional expression. 4. Conclusions. For most of the participants, this pregnancy termination was the most intense emotional experience of their life and most of them still manifested a need to find a meaning in what happened. Therefore, we insist of the necessity of considering the long-term psychological impacts that this kind of pregnancy termination can bring about.



1. Objectives. Because fetal anomalies are usually detected at the second or third trimester of the pregnancy, terminations of pregnancy following prenatal diagnosis occur late in the gestational phase. This makes the event very hard to support and create traumatic responses (Kersting et al, 2005). We hypothesize that such interventions elicit high intensity emotional reactions that can persist for a long time and create a particular need of social support. 2. Method. This study’s aim was to investigate the emotional, cognitive and social experiences of 123 women after pregnancy termination. Participants were recruited through French-speaking on-line forums having “pregnancy termination for medical reasons” as discussion topic. The questionnaire contained measures of social sharing of emotions (Rimé, 2009) and measures on emotional and cognitive impacts. The measures referred to two different moments in time: just after the intervention and at the moment of remembering the event. 3. Results. Participants’ reported intensity of emotional reaction to the intervention reached an average of 8.98 on a scale 1-10 whereas the residual intensity still averaged 8.41 at the moment of their recall. Thus, the emotional intensity did not decrease significantly over time. Sadness, anxiety, guilt and anger were the prevalent emotions experienced following termination and at the recall. On the cognitive level, a negative impact was found on basic believes and self-image, and there was a growth of contra-factual beliefs and need for meaning. These emotional and cognitive impacts stayed constant in time, even after more than 3 years. Women experienced a great urge to speak about the termination after it happened with a mean of 4.86 on a scale 1-6, a value virtually unchanged at the time of their participation (M = 4.55). The social sharing of emotions is maximal at the moment of termination and it decreased with time even if the need for social sharing stayed high regardless of elapsed time. This means that the effective sharing of emotions is not in line with the need for sharing of emotions. Probably because of women’s apprehension of social judgment leads them to restrain their emotional expression. 4. Conclusions. For most of the participants, this pregnancy termination was the most intense emotional experience of their life and most of them still manifested a need to find a meaning in what happened. Therefore, we insist of the necessity of considering the long-term psychological impacts that this kind of pregnancy termination can bring about.


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