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Parental views of antenatal testing and termination following a diagnosis of cleft lip

Stock, Nicola Marie; Costa, Bruna; Williams, Jenny; Martindale, Anna

Parental views of antenatal testing and termination following a diagnosis of cleft lip Thumbnail


Nicola Stock
Occasional Associate Lecturer - CHSS - HSS

Jenny Williams

Anna Martindale


© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Fetal anomaly screening at 18–21weeks now routinely includes cleft lip. If detected, the manner in which the diagnosis is communicated can considerably influence prospective parents’ decision-making in regard to further testing and termination of pregnancy (TOP). Given the known psychological impact of an antenatal diagnosis of cleft lip on prospective parents, this study aimed to explore the decision-making process from the parents’ perspective, in order to evaluate how well current practice is meeting guidelines. Data from 217 parents of children born with cleft lip (with or without cleft palate) were collected using a mixed-methods online survey. Respondents reported feeling upset, offended and/or anxious following the diagnosis, due to unsatisfactory information and a perceived lack of empathy from health professionals. Some respondents had felt under pressure to make a decision quickly, with a minority having regretted undergoing amniocentesis, and/or experiencing significant distress at having come close to TOP unnecessarily. A number of suggestions are made as to how the discussion between parents and health professionals could be improved, to ensure that the information and support needs of families affected by cleft lip are fully addressed.


Stock, N. M., Costa, B., Williams, J., & Martindale, A. (2019). Parental views of antenatal testing and termination following a diagnosis of cleft lip. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 24(4), 456-469.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 21, 2018
Online Publication Date Oct 3, 2018
Publication Date Apr 21, 2019
Deposit Date Sep 24, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 4, 2019
Journal Psychology, Health and Medicine
Print ISSN 1354-8506
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 4
Pages 456-469
Keywords diagnosis, cleft lip, amniocentesis, termination, parent perspective, ultrasound, sonography, pregnancy, visible difference
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Psychology Health & Medicine on 3rd October 2018, available online:
Corporate Creators : VTCT Foundation Research Team at the Centre for Appearance Research.


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