Preparing Heart and Mind for Becoming a Parent Following a Diagnosis of Fetal Anomaly

Anne Chevalier McKechnie, Karen Pridham, Audrey Tluczek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Using a cross-sectional, grounded dimensional analysis study design, we collected demographic and health information and conducted telephone interviews with 37 expectant parents of 26 fetuses within 25 families. We describe a theoretical model with a core process of preparing heart and mind for becoming a parent following a diagnosis of fetal anomaly. The process of preparing was influenced by fetal and future child health, experiences of previous loss, and social interactions within both new and familiar settings. Expectant parents reported varying turning points and strategies associated with three distinct trajectories of relating to the fetus or "baby" yet to be born. These relational trajectories include claiming the child as ones own, delaying the connection to the fetus, and doing the routine of pregnancy. With the findings presented in this article, we extend the understanding of how parenting develops during pregnancy in the context of a fetal anomaly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1182-1198
Number of pages17
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 14 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2014.


  • coping and adaptation
  • dimensional analysis
  • families
  • illness and disease, experiences
  • parenting
  • pregnancy
  • relationships, parent-child
  • theory development


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