A large number of potential malformations exist, but the key skills in communicating with the parents of a malformed baby are the same. Dissatisfaction is common in this situation and has prompted a national initiative in improving standards of disclosure of disability and malformation--the Right from the start strategy (see appendix). Key skills include keeping the family together, ie, not removing the baby unnecessarily, knowing how parents like to be informed, listening, checking that parents have understood, being nonderogatory and, most importantly, emphasizing the positive side of their newborn child.
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