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OBJECTIVE: Establish maternal preferences for a third-trimester ultrasound scan in a healthy, low-risk pregnant population. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study incorporating a discrete choice experiment. SETTING: A large, urban maternity hospital in Northern Ireland. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred and forty-six women in their second trimester of pregnancy. METHODS: A discrete choice experiment was designed to elicit preferences for four attributes of a third-trimester ultrasound scan: health-care professional conducting the scan, detection rate for abnormal foetal growth, provision of non-medical information, cost. Additional data collected included age, marital status, socio-economic status, obstetric history, pregnancy-specific stress levels, perceived health and whether pregnancy was planned. Analysis was undertaken using a mixed logit model with interaction effects. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Women's preferences for, and trade-offs between, the attributes of a hypothetical scan and indirect willingness-to-pay estimates. RESULTS: Women had significant positive preference for higher rate of detection, lower cost and provision of non-medical information, with no significant value placed on scan operator. Interaction effects revealed subgroups that valued the scan most: women experiencing their first pregnancy, women reporting higher levels of stress, an adverse obstetric history and older women. CONCLUSIONS: Women were able to trade on aspects of care and place relative importance on clinical, non-clinical outcomes and processes of service delivery, thus highlighting the potential of using health utilities in the development of services from a clinical, economic and social perspective. Specifically, maternal preferences exhibited provide valuable information for designing a randomized trial of effectiveness and insight for clinical and policy decision makers to inform woman-centred care.

Original publication




Journal article


Health Expect

Publication Date





892 - 903


discrete choice experiment, pregnancy, ultrasound scan, women's preferences, Adult, Choice Behavior, Cross-Sectional Studies, Decision Making, Female, Hospitals, Maternity, Humans, Ireland, Obstetrics, Patient Preference, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Trimester, Third, Risk Factors, Ultrasonography, Prenatal