Syrian Women’s Perceptions and Experiences of Ultrasound Screening in Pregnancy: Implications for Antenatal Policy, Reproductive Health Matters; 13:1-8, 2005.

Abstract: Ultrasound scanning is firmly embedded in antenatal maternity care around the world. This paper reports on a qualitative study carried out in 2003 of 30 Syrian women’s perceptions and experiences of routine ultrasound in pregnancy. It was part of a larger study of the experiences of pregnancy and childbirth of 500 women from Damascus and its suburbs who had recently given birth to healthy newborns. The women had had multiple scans during pregnancy and accepted its use uncritically nearly all the time. The scans gave them reassurance that the baby was healthy, the pregnancy was progressing well and allowed them to learn the sex of the baby. The women also reacted positively to the antenatal educational messages that were conveyed using scans. However, we found the excessive use of this technology worrying. We believe private doctors, who attend 80% of pregnant women, use ultrasound primarily to attract women to their clinics and increase their income. We recommend that maternity care in Syria should be better regulated; that women and their doctors should be made aware of the essential components of antenatal care; that national guidelines for antenatal care should be developed and that Syrian women should be empowered to ask questions about pregnancy and childbirth and the care they receive.
Author(s): Hyam Bashour , R. Hafez , Asma Abdul Salam  
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