As antenatal screening continues to advance, a greater number of expectant parents will receive unexpected news during pregnancy and be forced to grapple with uncertainties. Despite the large focus on screening processes, the National Clinical Care Guidelines: Pregnancy Care provides only one brief line about care for women after an anomaly is identified by ultrasound, which is to refer women to trained providers for counselling and ongoing support.
However, there is no specific training that addresses the psychosocial aspects of prenatal diagnosis. Furthermore, the counselling that parents receive is medical counselling, ever so important yet focused on information giving, rather than the counselling considered to assist people to explore their emotions, thoughts and the meaning of such information. While some parents may receive genetic counselling, access is not equitable and is often limited to a single session if available.
Healthcare and therapy providers have called for specific training, in the hope to reduce the emotional toll and reduce potential longstanding mental health consequences. Similarly, parents who have moved through the unexpected have called for change and improvement.
We are developing the first national, multidisciplinary training program focused specifically on the psychosocial side of prenatal diagnosis.
To learn more about this project, please click here to visit the project page: Improving the experience