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Informed choice and routinization of the second-trimester anomaly scan: a national cohort study in the Netherlands.

BACKGROUND: Since 2007 all pregnant women in the Netherlands are offered the second-trimester anomaly scan (SAS) in a nationwide prenatal screening program. This study aims to assess the level of informed choice of women opting for the SAS and to evaluate the presence of routinization 16 years after its implementation. It further explores decisional conflict and women's decision making.

METHODS: This prospective national survey study consisted of an online questionnaire which was completed after prenatal counseling and before undergoing the SAS. Informed choice was measured by the adapted multidimensional measure of informed choice (MMIC) and was defined in case women were classified as value-consistent, if their decision for the SAS was deliberated and made with sufficient knowledge.

RESULTS: A total of 894/1167 (76.6%) women completed the questionnaire. Overall, 54.8% made an informed choice, 89.6% had good knowledge, 59.8% had deliberated their choice and 92.7% held a positive attitude towards the SAS. Women with low educational attainment (p=0.004) or respondents of non-Western descent (p=0.038) were less likely to make an informed choice. Decisional conflict was low, with a significantly lower decisional conflict score in women that made an informed choice (p<0.001). Most respondents (97.9%) did not perceive pressure to undergo the SAS.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed a relatively low rate of informed choice for the SAS, due to absence of deliberation. Therefore, some routinization seem to be present in the Netherlands. However, most women had sufficient knowledge, did not perceive pressure and experienced low decisional conflict.

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