OBJECTIVES: To assess pregnant women's knowledge and understanding of first trimester prenatal screening (nuchal translucency, maternal serum free beta-human chorionic gonadotrophin and pregnancy-associated plasma-protein-A), to evaluate the impact of a new information booklet and investigate the effects of education and experiential knowledge of congenital disabilities on the perceived likelihood of accepting prenatal screening. DESIGN: A quasi-experimental quantitative study with a self-completion questionnaire. SETTING: Five different maternity care clinics in Iceland. POPULATION: Expectant mothers in first trimester of pregnancy (n = 379). MATERIAL AND METHODS: Expectant mothers were divided into two groups, an intervention and a control group, both receiving traditional care and information. The intervention group additionally received an information booklet about prenatal screening and diagnosis. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Women's knowledge score of prenatal screening. The correlation between education, knowledge score, experiential knowledge of congenital disabilities, and the likelihood of accepting prenatal screening. RESULTS: More than half of the women (57%) believed they received sufficient information to make an informed decision about screening. Knowledge scores were significantly higher for the intervention group (with mean 4.8 compared with 3.7 on a 0-8 scale, p < 0.0001). Those with higher scores were more likely to accept screening (p < 0.0001). Women with experiential knowledge of congenital anomalies in their own families were more likely to accept prenatal screening (p = 0.017). CONCLUSIONS: Various factors, e.g. experiential knowledge, education and information about prenatal screening affect the likelihood of participation in prenatal screening programs. More information results in better knowledge and higher uptake rate.
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