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Authors

  1. Dettwyler, Shenin A. MS, LCGC
  2. Zielinski, Ruth E. PhD, CNM
  3. Yashar, Beverly M. PhD, MS, CGC

Abstract

Prenatal genetic screening (GS) for the most common autosomal aneuploidies encompasses maternal serum screening (MSS) and noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT, or cell-free fetal DNA testing). In the United States, most maternity care is provided by obstetrician-gynecologists; however, women are increasingly utilizing the services of certified nurse-midwives (CNMs). Currently, limited research exists on midwives' experiences with providing prenatal GS. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore CNMs' experiences in providing prenatal GS. A semistructured guide focused on MSS and NIPT was used to interview a convenience sample of 13 CNMs. Results were coded and analyzed using grounded theory to elicit overarching themes. Results were organized into 6 themes describing CNMs' prenatal GS provision: (1) clinical protocols; (2) patient education; (3) patient-CNM shared decision-making process; (4) testing initiation; (5) results delivery; and (6) follow-up coordination. Key influences on midwives' perspectives on offering prenatal GS included a noninterventionist approach to pregnancy and past experiences with false-positive MSS results. Participants had an understanding of prenatal GS that was appropriate to midwifery scope of practice. Results indicate that NIPT utilization is compatible with the midwifery philosophy of noninterventionism, although midwives had limited experiences with NIPT to date.