1. MacNeil , Morgan
  2. Campbell-Yeo , Marsha


The phenomenon of carrying and birthing an infant with a (dis)ability is complex and emotionally driven for parents. Infants with (dis)abilities are at risk for long-term health and developmental challenges, which may cause fear and stress in families. Parents report dissatisfaction with their experience of learning of their infant's (dis)ability diagnosis. After unexpected news is given to expecting or new parents prenatally or postnatally, it is the nurse who is often left with parents during an extremely emotional and vulnerable time. Although nurses play a pivotal role in supporting parents through this vulnerable time, their specific role is not well defined. This narrative synthesis reviews the role of the nurse during complex family situations and applies findings to their role in supporting families through receiving the diagnosis of a (dis)ability for their infant either prenatally or postnatally. Nurses can assist parents through this process of adaptation by using a compassionate and empathetic approach in their care, facilitating opportunities for parent–infant bonding, speaking with person-first language, clarifying complex information, and assisting with allocation of various internal and external resources. Future research dedicated to the creation of best practice clinical guidelines on communicating with families during the diagnosis of (dis)ability would assist nurses and other health care professionals in meeting the multifaceted and sensitive needs of parents and families, ultimately contributing to improved health outcomes for the parents, family, and infant.