[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background:
The extended use of ultrasound that is seen in maternity care in most Western countries has not only affected obstetric care but also impacted on the conception of the fetus in relation to the pregnant woman. This situation has also raised concerns regarding the pregnant woman's reproductive freedom. The purpose of this study was to explore Swedish obstetricians' experiences and views on the role of obstetric ultrasound particularly in relation to clinical management of complicated pregnancy, and in relation to situations where the interests of maternal and fetal health conflict.
A qualitative study design was applied, and data were collected in 2013 through interviews with 11 obstetricians recruited from five different obstetric clinics in Sweden. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
The theme that emerged in the analysis 'Two sides of the same coin' depicts the view of obstetric ultrasound as a very important tool in obstetric care while it also was experienced as having given rise to new and challenging issues in the management of pregnancy. This theme was built on three categories: I. Ultrasound is essential and also demanding; II. A woman's health interest is prioritised in theory, but not always in practice; and III. Ultrasound is rewarding but may also cause unwarranted anxiety.
The widespread use of ultrasound in obstetric care has entailed new challenges for clinicians due to enhanced possibilities to diagnose and treat fetal conditions, which in turn might conflict with the health interests of the pregnant woman. There is a need for further ethical discussions regarding the obstetrician's position in management of situations where maternal and fetal health interests conflict. The continuing advances in the potential of ultrasound to impact on pregnancy management will also increase the need for adequate and appropriate information and counselling. Together with other health care professionals, obstetricians therefore need to develop improved ways of enabling pregnant women and their partners to make informed decisions regarding pregnancy management.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Objective
To explore Vietnamese obstetricians’ experiences and views on the role of obstetric ultrasound in clinical management of complicated pregnancy and in situations where maternal and fetal health interests conflict.
Seventeen obstetricians in northern Vietnam were interviewed as part of the CROss-Country Ultrasound Study (CROCUS) project in 2013. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
The participants described ultrasound as a central tool in prenatal care, although they called for increased training and resources to prevent inappropriate management. A prevailing overuse driven by women's request and increased commercialisation was described. Other clinical examinations were seen as being disregarded by women in favour of ultrasound, resulting in missed opportunities for identifying potential pregnancy complications. The use of ultrasound for sex selection purposes raised concern among participants. Visualisation of human features or heartbeat during ultrasound was commonly described as the point where the fetus became regarded as a ‘person’. Women were said to prioritise fetal health interests over their own health, particularly if a woman had difficulties becoming pregnant or had undergone assisted fertilisation. The woman's husband and his family were described as having an important role in decision-making in situations of maternal and fetal health conflicts.
This study provides insight into issues surrounding ultrasound use in contemporary Vietnam, some of which may be specific to this low-income context. It is clear that ultrasound has become a central tool in prenatal care in Vietnam and that it has also been embraced by women. However, there seems to be a need to balance women's demands for obstetric ultrasound with better recognition of the valuable contribution to be made by the full range of clinical examinations in pregnancy, along with a more strategic allocation of resources, that is, use of obstetric ultrasound based on clinical indications. Better regulation of private obstetric practice also appears to be needed. While the root causes of sex selection need to be addressed at societal level, efforts are also required more immediately to find ways to combat the inappropriate use of ultrasound for the purpose of sex selection.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Global Health Action
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background
Ultrasound is a tool of increasing importance in maternity care. Midwives have a central position in the care of pregnant women. However, studies regarding their experiences of the use of ultrasound in this context are limited. The purpose of this study was to explore Australian midwives’ experiences and views of the role of obstetric ultrasound particularly in relation to clinical management of complicated pregnancy, and situations where maternal and fetal health interests conflict.
A qualitative study was undertaken in Victoria, Australia in 2012, based on six focus group discussions with midwives (n = 37) working in antenatal and intrapartum care, as part of the CROss-Country Ultrasound Study (CROCUS). Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
One overarching theme emerged from the analysis: Obstetric ultrasound – a routine tool with far-reaching influence, and it was built on three categories. First, the category‘Experiencing pros and cons of ultrasound’ highlighted that ultrasound was seen as having many advantages; however, it was also seen as contributing to increased medicalisation of pregnancy, to complex and sometimes uncertain decision-making and to parental anxiety. Second, ‘Viewing ultrasound as a normalised and unquestioned examination’ illuminated how the use of ultrasound has become normalised and unquestioned in health care and in wider society. Midwives were concerned that this impacts negatively on informed consent processes, and at a societal level, to threaten acceptance of human variation and disability. Third, ‘Reflecting on the fetus as a person in relation to the pregnant woman’ described views on that ultrasound has led to increased ‘personification’ of the fetus, and that women often put fetal health interests ahead of their own.
The results reflect the significant influence ultrasound has had in maternity care and highlights ethical and professional challenges that midwives face in their daily working lives concerning its use. Further discussion about the use of ultrasound is needed, both among health professionals and in the community, in order to protect women’s rights to informed decision-making and autonomy in pregnancy and childbirth and to curb unnecessary medicalisation of pregnancy. Midwives’ experiences and views play an essential role in such discussions.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background: Obstetric ultrasound has become a significant tool in obstetric practice, however, it has been argued that its increasing use may have adverse implications for women’s reproductive freedom. This study aimed to explore Australian obstetricians’ experiences and views of the use of obstetric ultrasound both in relation to clinical management of complicated pregnancy, and in situations where maternal and fetal health interests conflict.
Methods: A qualitative study was undertaken as part of the CROss-Country Ultrasound Study (CROCUS). Interviews were held in November 2012 with 14 obstetricians working in obstetric care in Victoria, Australia. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
Results: One overall theme emerged from the analyses: The ethical challenge of balancing maternal and fetal health interests, built on four categories: First, Encountering maternal altruism’ described how pregnant women’s often ‘altruistic’ position in relation to the health and wellbeing of the fetus could create ethical challenges in obstetric management, particularly with an increasing imbalance between fetal benefits and maternal harms. Second, ‘Facing shifting attitudes due to visualisation and medico-technical advances’ illuminated views that ultrasound and other advances in care have contributed to a shift in what weight to give maternal versus fetal welfare, with increasing attention directed to the fetus. Third, ‘Guiding expectant parents in decision-making’ described the difficult task of facilitating informed decision-making in situations where maternal and fetal health interests were not aligned, or in situations characterised by uncertainty. Fourth, ‘Separating private from professional views’ illuminated divergent views on when the fetus can be regarded as a person. The narratives indicated that the fetus acquired more consideration in decision-making the further the gestation progressed. However, there was universal agreement that obstetricians could never act on fetal grounds without the pregnant woman’s consent.
Conclusions: This study suggests that medico-technical advances such as ultrasound have set the scene for increasing ethical dilemmas in obstetric practice. The obstetricians interviewed had experienced a shift in previously accepted views about what weight to give maternal versus fetal welfare. As fetal diagnostics and treatment continue to advance, how best to protect pregnant women’s right to autonomy requires careful consideration and further investigation.
Full-text · Article · May 2015 · BMC Medical Ethics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background
Obstetric ultrasound has come to play a significant role in obstetrics since its introduction in clinical care. Today, most pregnant women in the developed world are exposed to obstetric ultrasound examinations, and there is no doubt that the advantages of obstetric ultrasound technique have led to improvements in pregnancy outcomes. However, at the same time, the increasing use has also raised many ethical challenges. This study aimed to explore obstetricians' experiences of the significance of obstetric ultrasound for clinical management of complicated pregnancy and their perceptions of expectant parents' experiences.
A qualitative study was undertaken in November 2012 as part of the CROss-Country Ultrasound Study (CROCUS). Semi-structured individual interviews were held with 14 obstetricians working at two large hospitals in Victoria, Australia. Transcribed data underwent qualitative content analysis.
An overall theme emerged during the analyses, 'Obstetric ultrasound - a third eye', reflecting the significance and meaning of ultrasound in pregnancy, and the importance of the additional information that ultrasound offers clinicians managing the surveillance of a pregnant woman and her fetus. This theme was built on four categories: I:'Everyday-tool' for pregnancy surveillance, II: Significance for managing complicated pregnancy, III: Differing perspectives on obstetric ultrasound, and IV: Counselling as a balancing act. In summary, the obstetricians viewed obstetric ultrasound as an invaluable tool in their everyday practice. More importantly however, the findings emphasise some of the clinical dilemmas that occur due to its use: the obstetricians' and expectant parents' differing perspectives and expectations of obstetric ultrasound examinations, the challenges of uncertain ultrasound findings, and how this information was conveyed and balanced by obstetricians in counselling expectant parents.
This study highlights a range of previously rarely acknowledged clinical dilemmas that obstetricians face in relation to the use of obstetric ultrasound. Despite being a tool of considerable significance in the surveillance of pregnancy, there are limitations and uncertainties that arise with its use that make counselling expectant parents challenging. Research is needed which further investigates the effects and experiences of the continuing worldwide rapid technical advances in surveillance of pregnancies.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Although midurethral slings have become standard surgical methods to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI), little is known about women who still have urinary incontinence (UI) after surgery. This study assesses and compares the patient-reported outcome 12 months after tension-free vaginal tape (TVT), tension-free vaginal tape-obturator (TVT-O), and transobturator tape (TOT), with a special focus on women who still have urinary leakage postoperatively.
This study analyzed preoperative and 12-month postoperative data from 3,334 women registered in the Swedish National Quality Register for Gynecological Surgery.
Among the women operated with TVT (n = 2,059), TVT-O (n = 797), and TOT (n = 478), 67 %, 62 %, and 61 %, respectively, were very satisfied with the result at the 1-year follow-up. There was a significantly higher chance of becoming continent after TVT compared with TOT. In total, 977 women (29 %) still had some form of urinary leakage postoperatively. Among the postoperatively incontinent women who expressed a negative impact of UI on family, social, work, and sexual life preoperatively, considerably fewer reported a negative impact in all domains after surgery. Of those in the postoperatively incontinent group who had coital incontinence preoperatively, 63 % reported a cure of coital incontinence.
The proportion of women very satisfied with the result of the operation did not differ between the three groups. TVT had a higher SUI cure rate than did TOT. Despite urinary leakage 1-year postoperatively, half of the women were satisfied with the result of the operation.
No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · International Urogynecology Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: To examine the impact of female urinary incontinence, urgency and frequency on quality of life, and partner relationship in women (18-74 years) and their partners, and make comparisons with the corresponding age groups in a Swedish population-based study.
Women with urinary incontinence, urgency and frequency (n = 206) completed specific questionnaires concerning medical history and the Bristol Female Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms questionnaire. Women who had a stable relationship (n = 170) also answered a questionnaire regarding psychosocial situation, partner relationship and sexual life, and were asked to give a similar questionnaire to their partner. Totally, 109 partners participated.
The vast majority of the women considered that their urinary problems affected their physical activities negatively and almost half reported negative consequences for social life and joint activities. One third of both women and men experienced a negative impact on their relationship and about every fifth felt it had a harmful influence on physical proximity, intimacy, affection, and warmth. Compared to the older women, the younger were less satisfied with their psychological health, sexual life, leisure and financial situation, and compared to the younger men, the young women were less content with their somatic health. Overall, women with urinary problems and their partners were less satisfied with their somatic health than the corresponding age groups in the national population-based study.
Female urinary incontinence, urgency and frequency significantly impair the quality of life in both younger and older women, and also have negative effects on the partner relationship and the partner's life.
Preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Neurourology and Urodynamics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: To assess the impact of female urinary incontinence (UI) and urgency on women's and their partners' sexual life in sexually active couples and to elucidate the concordance of answers within couples.
Women aged 18-74 years with UI and/or urgency (n = 206) were consecutively recruited from four outpatient clinics. Those with a partner (n = 170) completed a questionnaire regarding relationship and sexual life and gave a similar questionnaire to him. The present paper focuses on 99 couples with an active sexual life.
Twenty-two percent of the men and 43% of the women stated that the female urinary symptoms impaired their sexual life. Forty-nine percent of the women expressed worries about having urinary leakage during sexual activity, but most of their men, 94%, did not. Twenty-three percent of the men and 39% of the women responded that the woman leaked urine during sexual activity. The majority, 84%, of women considered this a problem, but 65% of their partners did not. Except for this disparity, the rest of the answers were significant concordant within the couples.
Female UI and urgency negatively affected sexual life in almost half of the women and in every fifth partner. A need for information and advice concerning sexual issues due to the woman's urinary disorder was found in one fifth of the couples. The majority of women with urinary leakage during sexual activities considered this as a problem, but most of their partners did not. Overall, the concordance of the answers within the couples was high.
No preview · Article · Sep 2011 · Neurourology and Urodynamics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: To investigate the impact of urinary incontinence and urgency on women's sexual life and the prevalence of urinary leakage during sexual activity. A further aim was to explore factors affecting sexual desire and satisfaction with sexual life.
A semi-structured questionnaire study.
Sexually active women (n=147) aged 18-74years with urinary incontinence and urgency were recruited from four outpatient clinics.
The women completed questionnaires concerning medical history, psychosocial situation, partner relationship and sexual life, and answered the Bristol Female Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms questionnaire. All underwent clinical evaluation.
Prevalence of urinary leakage during sexual activity, factors affecting sexual desire and sexual satisfaction.
The vast majority considered sexuality to be important in their lives. One-third of the women had urinary leakage during sexual activity. Half reported that sexual life was more or less spoiled due to their urinary incontinence or urgency and they were worried about having urinary leakage during intercourse, and almost two-thirds worried about odor and felt unattractive. The women's dissatisfaction with sexual life was strongly correlated to unsatisfying psychological health, orgasmic disability and worry about urinary leakage during intercourse. Insufficient vaginal lubrication, unsatisfying psychological health and their partners' ill health were significantly correlated with decreased sexual desire.
Urinary incontinence and urgency have a negative impact on women's sexual life. Thus, a dialogue about sexual function in women with urinary symptoms should become an integral component in clinical management.
No preview · Article · Mar 2011 · Acta Obstetricia Et Gynecologica Scandinavica
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: To gain knowledge about the male partner's experience of being present during an induced home abortion.
Twenty-three couples, whose male partner had been present when the woman aborted at home, were interviewed one to two weeks post-abortion.
Each of the men supported his partner in her decision to have a home abortion, as this gave him the possibility of being near and of caring for her needs on the expulsion day. All the men were present and all their partners confirmed that they had been supportive. Half the men had been anxious prior to the expulsion, but most considered that their experiences during the expulsion had been 'easier than expected' and their dominant feeling was one of relief.
Abortion is an important life event. When taking place at home, it increases the possibility for the couple to share the experience. Sharing an abortion may have a positive impact on those men who lack a sense of responsibility regarding reproductive issues, such as contraceptive use. This could facilitate society's efforts to involve men as a target group in this field. Designing an abortion policy that caters for the needs of both partners is a challenge.
No preview · Article · Aug 2010 · The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Nine women who had been subjected to severe intimate partner violence during pregnancy narrated their ambiguous and contradictory feelings and the various balancing strategies they used to overcome their complex and difficult situations. Because allowing anyone to come close posed a threat, the women mostly denied the situation and kept up a front to hide the violence from others. Three women disclosed ongoing violence to the midwives, but only one said such disclosure was helpful. This article highlights the complexity of being pregnant when living with an abusive partner and challenges antenatal care policies from the perspective of pregnant women.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2010 · Violence Against Women
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Prospective studies elucidating the impact of the treatment of cervical cancer on urinary and climacteric symptoms and sexual life are relatively rare. The aim of this study was to seek information about the occurrence of urinary, climacteric and sexual symptoms in women with cervical cancer before and 1 year after treatment without brachytherapy.
This prospective study evaluated 39 women treated for cervical cancer. Data were collected by two questionnaires (before and 1 year after treatment). In order to supplement the data from the questionnaires, some data were selected from the patient's medical records.
The number of voluntary micturitions, urgency, urinary incontinence and climacteric symptoms had not increased 1 year after treatment. Vaginal dryness and dyspareunia had increased and sexual desire was reduced 1-year post-treatment.
This study has shown that urinary and climacteric symptoms are not frequent 1 year after treatment of cervical cancer without brachytherapy. However, there is an increased occurrence of vaginal dryness and sexual disorders 1-year post-treatment, mainly in the form of dyspareunia and reduced sexual desire. Taken together these symptoms affect the women's quality of life and it is, therefore, crucial that the medical providers become more aware of and skilled to deal with these conditions before and after treatment.
No preview · Article · Dec 2009 · Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: To gain knowledge about women's experiences, views and reactions regarding having a home abortion (medical abortion with the use of misoprostol at home).
One hundred women were interviewed one week post-abortion; this yielded both quantitative and qualitative data.
The overwhelming majority of the women experienced wellbeing and were satisfied with their choice of abortion method. They appreciated the privacy and the comfort of being at home which also allowed the presence of a partner. The intake of mifepristone at the clinic was described by many in existential terms as an emotionally charged act, experienced by some as more difficult than expulsion at home. However, relief was the predominant emotional feeling during the expulsion day. Most women did not find it especially dramatic to see and handle the products of conception although some felt uncomfortable at the sight.
Given that they choose this method themselves and are well informed, women are able to handle the abortion process by themselves outside a clinical setting. The option to choose home abortion implies a radical change in empowerment for women. Also allowing them the possibility to take mifepristone at home would increase their privacy and personal integrity even more.
No preview · Article · Oct 2009 · The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The crisis of infertility has been studied in 30 women with tubal damage and the manner in which it affected their partners over a period of 2 years. Altogether, 4 interviews were carried out with the women, and two with the men. The partners of each couple were interviewed individually on the same day a few weeks before and 2 years after a reconstructive tubal operation. Furthermore, the women were interviewed on the first postoperative day, and 1 month later at the second-look laparoscopy. Most of the symptoms recorded during the interviews could be classified in terms of depression, guilt and isolation. The women generally manifested more depressive symptoms than the men who often suppressed or even denied emotional reactions. Feelings of guilt were more common among the women than among the men. Relatives and friends did not give genuine support — according to the majority of the couples. Pregnant women and other people's children often evoked negative feelings. Social isolation often developed among the infertile women and their partners. In most cases, the crisis of infertility was found to be prolonged, especially among the women. The study indicates that in order to cope with the crisis of infertility, couples require supportive counseling in parallel to the investigation and medical treatment. This counseling should be designed both for the couple as an entity and for the partners separately.
No preview · Article · Jul 2009 · Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: In Sweden, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is included among the venereal diseases covered by the Law of Communicable Diseases Act. HIV-positive (HIV(+)) people are required to inform their sexual partners about their infection and adopt safe sex behaviours. However, it is unclear how the law is perceived. This study explores how HIV(+) youth in Sweden perceive the law, handle their sexuality and disclose their HIV diagnosis to sexual partners. Ten HIV(+) women and men between 17 and 24 years of age were recruited from three different HIV infection clinics. These participants were interviewed in depth. The interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed according to a grounded theory approach. The core category-cultured to take responsibility-illuminates the informants' double-edged experiences regarding the law and how they handle disclosure to sexual partners. The legislation implies both support and burden for these HIV(+) youth; they feel that they have a great deal of responsibility, sometimes more than they can handle. 'Switch off lust', 'balancing lust, fear and obedience' and 'switch off the disease' are strategies that describe how the informants manage sexuality and disclosure. Young HIV(+) people have a difficult time informing partners of their HIV diagnosis and discussing safe sex strategies. These are challenges that health care providers need to take seriously. HIV(+) youth need better communication strategies to negotiate safer sex. Staff with extended education on sexuality should be a part of HIV health care.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2008 · Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies