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Educating themselves and engaging in a healthy

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Educating themselves and engaging in a healthy lifestyleSome participants spoke of gathering information toknow what actual risks are and to be prepared. Partici-pants with low perceived risk scores and high or moder-ate perceived control scores often reported that they hadpreparedthemselvesforpregnancycomplicationsto"not be surprised by risk" (Participant 1). This 39 year-old participant with a high perceived control score whoperceived a low risk for her pregnancy stated:"Im healthy, Im fine and Ive prepared myself, Iveeducated myself . . . Yeah I think it would be lessstressful [if I were younger] because I wouldnt haveto educate myself so much. I would have educatedmyself but I feel like I had to do that extra little bit ofresearch because I was in that high risk group, I wasin that you knowmore chance of something goingwrong group.So I educated myself a little bit more."(Participant 1)These participants were also focused on improvingtheir lifestyle and engaging in healthy behaviors to pro-tect their pregnancies.Reassuring surveillance testsBecause most women were aware of the association be-tween genetic problems and older maternal age, receiv-ing reassuring screening test results was reported as arelieving factor. A desire to seek actual and tangiblesigns of the baby's health to confirm that "it's a normalbaby" was evident in the interviews:"When I had one [ultrasound], and I saw thateverything was okay, he was developing okay, then Ihad the tests done, the blood test, I said okay, hes anormal baby, so I stopped worrying." (Participant 12)Some participants chose to take screening tests as partof their preparation to deal with anticipatory issues andto decrease concerns related to fetal health. Based onseveral participants explanations, undertaking screeningtests was a reflection of their desire to plan and beprepared:"We just wanted to do it for our own sake of mind,just for our own peace of mind. I like planning mylife, I like preparing for things, I like being educatedand ready for whatever, I wanted to know, if Im goingto have a baby with Downs syndrome. I want to knowso that Im prepared, so that I can educate myself asto what this babys needs are going to be. At least ifyouve prepared a little bit, you might be able tohandle it differently." (Participant 1)Overlooking (ignoring) the riskSome participants reported an inclination to disregardthe risk to avoid excessive stress and anxiety. In fact,overlookingtheriskwasaverycommonapproachamong our participants, even among those who edu-cated themselves and were engaged in a healthy lifestyle:"Ive been trying not to let research or other reportsor what I read influence my way of thinking . . . Iknow they exist, Im not saying that ignorance is bliss,but I just dont focus on it." (Participant 1)The following quote from a 44 year-old participantwho had both a low perceived risk score and a low per-ceived control score describes this approach. She and

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Term
Summer
Professor
N/A
Tags
Wind, AMA

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