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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2006;85(12):1414-9.

Informed consent: attitudes, knowledge and information concerning prenatal examinations.

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Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Public Health, Research Unit for the General Practice, University of Aarhus, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.



Providing women with information enabling an informed consent to prenatal examinations has been widely recommended.


The primary purpose of this review is to summarise the current knowledge of the pregnant woman's expectations and attitudes concerning prenatal examinations, as well as the knowledge possessed by pregnant women undergoing prenatal examinations. Second, we explore their reasons for accepting or declining available screening tests.


More than 90% of the pregnant women expressed a positive attitude toward screening procedures in pregnancy. Most often (70-96%), the pregnant women were found knowledgeable about the procedural and practical aspects, but were more seldom (31-81%) able to correctly identify the purpose of tracing fetal malformations. Some 29-65% were not familiar with the existence of a false negative result, and 30-43% were found unaware of the possibility of a false positive result. The risk of miscarriage in relation to amniocentetesis [AC] is unknown to 11-53%. Uptake rates are associated with attitudes toward prenatal examinations, but no knowledge of the test offered. A total of 88% considered their health care provider an important source of information, and 57% stated that this information has influenced their decision.


Pregnant women favor prenatal examinations, but the choice of participation does not seem to be based on insight to enable full informed consent. Health care providers are perceived as an essential source of information.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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