"We want to do everything": how parents represent their experiences with maternal-fetal surgery online

Fry, J. T.; Frader, J. E.

J Perinatol. 2018 Jan 11

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: There is little available evidence on how patients make decisions regarding maternal-fetal surgery. We studied online patient narratives for insight on how pregnant women and their partners consider such decisions. STUDY DESIGN: We used Google search strings and a purposive snowball method to locate patient blogs. We analyzed blog entries using qualitative methods to identify author details, medical information, and common themes. RESULTS: We located 32 blogs of patients who describe maternal-fetal surgery consultation. Twenty-eight (88%) underwent fetal interventions. Most (91%) explicitly described consultation with maternal-fetal surgery teams; 83% of those depicted making decisions prior to formal consultation. Few expressed regret for decisions made (6%). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Patients openly share experiences with maternal-fetal surgery online. Women portray their decisions as made outside of formal medical processes and overwhelmingly feel these decisions were "right". As the field of maternal-fetal surgery expands, prospective evaluation of patient decision-making is needed.

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