Prenatal testing: The perceptions and experiences of Muslim women in Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper examines how Muslim women perceive and experience prenatal testing. In addition, we look at women's partners and their opinions relating to prenatal testing. The paper is based on in-depth interviews with immigrant women who identify themselves as followers of Islam and are now living in Australia. The women have, in general, positive attitudes toward prenatal testing, particularly ultrasound. However, some are ambivalent about amniocentesis. Despite their doubts, women tend to accept prenatal testing as they believe it is routine in antenatal care and confirms their own perceptions of being a 'normal mother', who should accept advice from their doctors. Women's partners also play an important role in the acceptance of prenatal testing among women in this study. We argue that women's perceptions and subjective experience of prenatal testing should be taken into account when providing prenatal services to them. Women need to be given a choice rather than being pressured and made to conform to the routinization of prenatal testing which as taken place in the Australian health care system. Only then will we see sensitive health care provided for women in general and for Muslim immigrant women in particular.

publication date

  • February 2002