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Psicologia, Saúde & Doenças

Print version ISSN 1645-0086


FONSECA, Ana  and  CANAVARRO, Maria Cristina. Parental reactions to perinatal congenital anomaly diagnosis of the baby: Implications for the intervention of health professionals. Psic., Saúde & Doenças [online]. 2010, vol.11, n.2, pp.283-297. ISSN 1645-0086.

The communication of a congenital anomaly diagnosis of the baby during the perinatal period has a significant emotional impact for parents, being a challenge for the intervention of health professionals. The aim of this paper is to outline implications for the intervention of health professionals, based on a reflection on existing research about parental reactions to the diagnosis of congenital anomaly of the baby. Empirical research describes initial parental reactions similar to mourning response (shock, sadness, anxiety, guilt and anger), in a gradual process of adaptation, often leading to recovery of emotional well­being. There are also some specific features, depending on when the diagnosis is known. From the reflection on the research results presented, some guidelines for different health professionals emerged, particularly as regards the communication of the diagnosis, the need for a coordinated multidisciplinary team that provides a safe context of care, as well as the relevance of psychosocial interventions with these families.

Keywords : Congenital anomaly of the baby; prenatal diagnosis; post­natal diagnosis; parental reactions; health professional’s intervention guidelines; psychosocial intervention.

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