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PLoS One. 2015 Feb 18;10(2):e0117995. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0117995. eCollection 2015.

Information following a diagnosis of congenital heart defect: experiences among parents to prenatally diagnosed children.

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Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Scandinavian Languages, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; Department of Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.



Prenatal screening of pregnant women in Sweden has improved the detection of major congenital heart defects (CHD). The aim was to explore parental experiences and need for information following a prenatal diagnosis of CHD.


Semi-structured interviews conducted with six fathers and five mothers to seven prenatally diagnosed children. Data were analyzed through content analysis.


Three themes and 9 categories emerged. Theme 1, Grasping the facts today while reflecting on the future, containing five categories: Difficulties sorting out information when in emotional chaos; Respectful information regarding termination of pregnancy; Early information is crucial; Understanding the facts regarding the anomaly; Preparing for the future. Theme 2, Personal contact with medical specialists who give honest and trustworthy information is valued, containing two categories: Trust in information received from medical specialists and Truth and honesty is valued. Theme 3, An overwhelming amount of information on the Internet, containing two categories: Difficulties in finding relevant information and Easy to focus on cases with a poor outcome when searching the Internet.


Early and honest information in line with individual preferences is crucial to support the decisional process regarding whether to continue or terminate the pregnancy. The use of illustrations is recommended, as a complement to oral information, as it increases comprehension and satisfaction with obtained information. Furthermore, the overwhelming amount of information on the Internet calls for compilation of easily accessible and reliable information sources via the Internet.

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