Late-Term Abortion for Fetal Anomaly: Vietnamese Women's Experiences

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Abstract

Screening for fetal anomalies in the second trimester of pregnancy is increasingly becoming a part of antenatal care. As a consequence, more pregnant women are learning that the child they are expecting has an anomaly. This article derives from anthropological research in a hospital in Hanoi, Viet Nam, from 2003-2006 that investigated 30 women's experiences after a fetal anomaly was detected. We followed the women from the ultrasound scan through the process of deciding whether to continue their pregnancy or have an abortion. This article focuses on the 17 women who had an abortion and the support they received from health care providers. Their loss of a wanted pregnancy led to feelings of guilt, pain and sadness and fear and uncertainty about being able to have a healthy baby in the future. Two years after the abortion, most of the women had come to terms with the loss, especially those who had had a healthy child since. We recommend that the Vietnamese health care system seeks to ensure that women receive counselling and support that answers their questions about what happened and why. To do this, health care staff need additional training in fetal medicine and counselling skills and sensitisation to the social and emotional challenges that detection of fetal anomalies and second trimester abortion bring to antenatal care. © 2008 Reproductive Health Matters.

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APA

Gammeltoft, T., Minh Hǎ̀ng, T., Thi Hiep, N., & Thi Thúy Hanh, N. (2008). Late-Term Abortion for Fetal Anomaly: Vietnamese Women’s Experiences. Reproductive Health Matters, 16(31 SUPPL.), 46–56. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0968-8080(08)31373-1

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