The selective use of prenatal screening by Bedouin women attending Ministry of Health, maternal and child health clinics in Israel is examined. The data consist of a review of 537 prenatal care records, 16 in depth interviews with mothers, and four interviews with health personnel. These data are part of a larger study that took place between 1994-99 amongst Negev Bedouin women, part of the Palestinian Arab minority within Israel. The record review shows that the majority of women who attend prenatal care do not take up referrals for Maternal Serum Alpha Feto Protein (MSAFP) testing or for amniocentesis tests. Although many women interviewed talked about the value of prenatal screening, they also spoke of 'false alarms' that may result from testing. Similarly, women were aware that the socially preferred pattern of consanguinity in marriage amongst the Bedouin may cause medical problems, however test uptake was unrelated to consanguinity. There was a variety of views concerning the permissibility of terminating a pregnancy. This study shows that women use prenatal screening selectively in a way that helps them to balance social and medical risk. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.
- Pre-natal screening
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- History and Philosophy of Science