Counselling should be provided before parents are told of presence of ultrasonographic “soft markers” of fetal abnormality

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7101.189 (Published 19 July 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:189
  1. Gerald Mason, Consultant in fetomaternal medicinea,
  2. Catherine Baillie, Research assistantb
  1. a Clarendon Wing, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds LS2 9NS
  2. b Department of Psychology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT

    Editor—Martin Whittle alluded to the anxiety caused to parents after the disclosure of a “soft marker”—that is, “a minor … structural change which may indicate a risk of serious fetal anomaly but … is probably inconsequential”—following a routine ultrasound scan.1 The anxiety caused can be both considerable and long lasting, as shown by the following case.

    A couple were referred for amniocentesis during the wife's second pregnancy on the grounds of maternal age (35 years) and anxiety. Their 3 …

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