Routine prenatal ultrasonography: The pregnant woman's expectations and perspectives on safety in an obstetric population in Yaounde, Cameroon

Joshua Tambe Agbor (
Radiology, University of Yaounde 1
November, 2013


Background: Pregnant women are important stakeholders regarding prenatal ultrasound (US) scanning. Their specific needs and preferences have to be ascertained to ameliorate service delivery by healthcare providers.
Objective: To assess the pregnant woman’s expectations during routine prenatal US and her perspective of US safety during pregnancy in a Cameroonian obstetric population.
Methods: It was a cross-sectional descriptive study of consenting pregnant women who reported at the Radiology department of a university-affiliated hospital in Yaounde for a routine prenatal US scan. Participants filled a pre-tested, anonymous questionnaire. A convenient sample of 200 participants was adopted.
Results: The mean age of the respondents was 27.9 ± 6.1 years (range from 15 to 44 years). Thirty-three (16.8%) respondents (on a total of 196) declared they had never done an US scan. One hundred and eleven (58.4%) on a total of 190 stated that they had not received any information on what US is all about. Before the US scan the respondents would like to receive information on the aim or purpose of US, possible inconveniences or risks, and on how to prepare before the scan. The most reported expectations were assurance of the wellbeing of the fetus (58%), gender determination (44.5%) and information on fetal position (20.5%). Thirty-four respondents considered US as not perfectly safe for the mother or the fetus, with the relevant reasons being the use or production of some ‘rays’ which might have some potentially harmful effects.
Conclusion: Pregnant women would want to be assured of the wellbeing of the fetus, the gender and position during a routine prenatal US. They however need to be informed of its purpose and safety.
Keywords: Prenatal ultrasound; Expectations; ultrasound safety