A qualitative study on how Muslim women of Moroccan descent approach antenatal anomaly screening Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: to extend the knowledge on Muslim women's approach of antenatal anomaly screening. DESIGN: qualitative interview study with pregnant Muslim women from Moroccan origin. SETTING: one midwifery practice in a medium-sized city near Amsterdam participated in the study. PARTICIPANTS: twelve pregnant Muslim women who live in a high density immigrant area and who attended primary midwives for antenatal care were included in the study. DATA COLLECTION AND DATA ANALYSES: we conducted open interviews with pregnant Moroccan Muslim women for the purpose of studying how they made decisions about antenatal anomaly screening. We used a thematic analysis approach. FINDINGS: women experienced the combined test as 'a test' that could identify potentially anomalous infants, and could result in being offered termination of the pregnancy; a fact that resulted in their extensive deliberations and hesitation about the test uptake. Only two women had the combined test. Conversely, women opted for the Fetal Anomaly Scan and saw it as 'only an ultrasound to see the baby'. Above all, women emphasised that whether or not to participate in antenatal anomaly tests was their own, individual decision as ultimately they were accountable for their choices. All women, including nulliparous women, viewed becoming pregnant as the point of becoming a mother - and considered antenatal screening through the lens of motherhood. KEY CONCLUSIONS: motherhood was the lens through which the decision to participate in antenatal anomaly screening was approached. Religious beliefs influenced values on termination and disability and were influential in the deliberations for antenatal testing. Combined test but not Fetal Anomaly Scan was considered to be a antenatal screening test. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: counsellors should have knowledge of the different Islamic beliefs about - the latest possible day for - termination and an awareness that Muslim women make their own conscious choices, also beyond Islamic rulings.


  • Gitsels-van der Wal, Janneke T
  • Martin, Linda
  • Manniën, Judith
  • Verhoeven, Pieternel
  • Hutton, Eileen Katherine
  • Reinders, Hans S

publication date

  • March 2015