Ending a pregnancy for fetal abnormality

Feelings about the pregnancy

We asked everyone to tell us what they felt about the pregnancy in the early stages, before they realised that the baby (or babies) had problems, and several women recalled feeling happy and confident at first. Some other women though - including several who had been pregnant before - said they felt from the outset that something was wrong with this particular pregnancy. 

Women who said they had experienced positive feelings about this pregnancy described how being pregnant had changed their outlook on life. Several first -time mothers talked about enjoying feeling special - one woman said the pregnancy was like becoming 'part of a club you never knew existed before'. (For more general experiences of pregnancy see our - Experiences of Pregnancy website.)

Many of those who had been pregnant before and knew what to expect, had a gut feeling that this pregnancy was different. Some described their feelings as a premonition or 'sixth sense' that something was wrong - several had discussed their feelings with friends, others had mentioned their worries to health professionals. Even when women had tried to tell themselves they were imagining things they continued to be worried. One woman said that her concern about this pregnancy seemed to fit in with her feeling so ill physically.

Many women said that the pregnancy became a worry because of physical problems which included breakthrough bleeding and sickness. Several had experienced severe sickness (hyperemesis) and had been treated in hospital for dehydration, and several had experienced bleeding during the first weeks of pregnancy. Physical problems made some women worry about the baby, though they found that most people they talked to, including family, friends and health professionals, had tried to reassure them. Several women wondered whether their sickness was caused by the baby 'fighting to survive'. (For more detailed information about sickness in pregnancy see our - Experiences of Pregnancy website.)  

Those who had planned to get pregnant said they had eaten more healthily, and had given up smoking and alcohol. Several women who later discovered their babies had a neural tube defect said they did not take folic acid, though they were advised to do so in subsequent pregnancies. A woman with epilepsy asked her doctor for advice before she got pregnant and also took folic acid.

Many women responded to the news that they were pregnant with 'mixed emotions'. For some women, practical issues such as not having enough money or being in the process of moving house, took away some of the enjoyment of pregnancy. A woman who already had twins, explained she felt upset when she discovered she was expecting twins again.  

Some women had had miscarriages before this pregnancy, and others had conceived the baby after IVF treatment. For these women maintaining the pregnancy was their main concern. One woman who had been trying to conceive for 6 years, said that getting pregnant never seemed 'a doddle' to her.

Last reviewed July 2017.
Last updated May 2012.



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