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First Trimester Screening

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Ok, I want to preface this by saying that I realize that this may not be the post popular topic on this forum...I know that testing in general goes against most of the philosophies of mamas on MDC.  On the other hand, I also know that some aspects of modern medicine are useful in certain circumstances, therefore I believe there may some of you out there who are not opting out of all testing, carte blanche. 

 

I would like to know who is planning to do the 1st trimester prenatal screening tests (bloodwork and NT scan) and what your reasons are for choosing not to opt-out. 

 

My reason for this inquiry is that I am having a hard time this pregnancy deciding whether or not to do this screening.  I opted-out of nearly all prenatal testing when I was pg with DS and he turned out just fine, but this time I will be 35 when this baby is due and I'm starting to wonder if I'm just being stubborn in not wanting to do the screening.  I am also planning my first home birth (midwife attended) and I feel like I should have all the information necessary to determine if home is, indeed, the safest place to deliver my baby.  If there will be special perinatal care required due to a birth defect or chromosomal abnormality, I want to be prepared for the best possible care for my baby.  We will NOT  terminate based on any information gained from testing, so that's not the reason why I'm having this debate...just trying to make the most responsible choices.

 

Thanks, mamas, for any/all input on this topic!

post #2 of 17

I am a very UP/UC person at heart.  But I am pregnant with a 42 year old bachelors baby.  He knows next to nothing about pregnancy, birth, or parenting except for what he's seen on TV.  We've only been dating for a couple of months and I have been very slowly introducing him to my crunchy ways, but it's been slow going and I'm trying not to scare him off completely already lol.  Most things with me are going to be non-negotiable (he doesn't really know that yet), but for now I am humoring him with things like regular doctor visits, ect.  It's keeping him humored, and I don't really see the harm (other than I think it's a waste of time and unnecessary).

 

So that's my reason for doing the testing.  For me personally, I don't feel it's necessary...but I don't see any real harm and it's keeping the peace.  If I were older or had different risk factors or something, I may feel different about the testing.  I think mostly it's all a gut feeling kind of thing.

 

post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by egmaranian View PostI know that testing in general goes against most of the philosophies of mamas on MDC.  


I haven't found this to be true. Uninformed choices maybe, but not educated mamas making the best choices for themselves, their families and their growing little ones. 

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

kawa kamuri:  Ooh, I was worried that something in my OP wouldn't sit well with someone and that was truly not my intention.  I apologize if my wording was inappropriate. I just wanted to make it clear that I know my question slightly goes against the grain of the norm on this forum.  I have always considered myself to be one who makes educated and informed choices, and it was through research done during my first pregnancy that I chose to decline testing and screening at that time.  Now I am debating whether those choices are still the right ones under my new circumstances with this pregnancy and just want input from other mamas who have decided to go down the testing path.


 

CrazyCatLady:  Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with me.  I agree that it's wise to pick your battles very carefully with a significant other...especially one who will the father of your child winky.gif

 

 


post #5 of 17

I'm doing the 1st trimester screen.  I'm 29, and according to many there's no reason for me to do this test, but I just do it for peace of mind.  I wouldn't terminate based off the results, but I'd just like to know.  I too am planning a homebirth and I think being armed with the most amount of info is the only way I would personally be comfortable doing so.

post #6 of 17

I am so glad you asked!  I, too, have been debating.  I'm 32, pg with my first through IVF, no family history of problems...I don't have any indicators that I would need to do the test.  But I would like to be prepared if there is a liklihood of there being a problem.  (For instance, I might choose a hospital with a better NICU.)  I am pretty stuck on this decision, and so is DH.  We've gone back and forth.  But I'm 9.4 weeks...so we have to decide soon!  Most of my friends haven't done it.  I find talking to others has been somewhat helpful.

post #7 of 17

Since I have no idea what you're referring to, I'm gonna need to research this I guess. I can't remember anything I did before with my last pregnancy being 7 years ago! redface.gif

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Danielle:  Here's a link to a good website that explains the screen

post #9 of 17

I had every test known to man in my second child (3rd pregnancy). I will be declining them in this pregnancy.

 

My reasons? With my last pregnancy, I was 28 and my risk for Down came back as a 42 year old (1 in 181). The NT scan showed no nasal bone (another risk for Down). I FREAKED out. For almost 8 weeks I was stressed out. I would not terminate, but I was worried about the childs health. Then I had another ultrasound at a high risk dr. around 20 weeks and everything looked perfect. He put my risks back down with my age group. But I was still scared, and stressed.

 

I did not stop stressing out untill my son was born, perfectly healthy. He is a VERY high needs baby though, fusses ALL THE TIME regardless to what we do. I think all the stressing out during pregnancy had some impact on this. (we also put an offer in on a house at 8 weeks pregnant, and did not close to close to 9 months, so more stress)

 

So no testing for me this time!!

post #10 of 17
It's funny, the more babies I have the less I trust the process (I've even had a u/c waterbirth with a ten pounder ). Not sure if it's a statistics thing ( like 1 out of 5 will experience x complication and I'm on no. 5) or what. I'd never termInate, but I would like a peek in there to make sure everything is ok (ESP having had 2 miscarriages). I'll have the test.
post #11 of 17

Hi Erica,

 

I will be 38 when this (my first) child is born. I plan on passing on all of the genetic screening, among others. You actually gave me that link on another thread (thank you, thank you!) and after I read all of them and various responses to the previous thread, I made my decision. I'm still unsure if I will have a home birth or not, as women in my family have a hard time letting go of their babies naturally (but dammit I'm going to try, even if it's in a hospital)... but I will not be terminating my pregnancy no matter what and I see no reason to stress myself out in the meantime. I'm lucky. I live in a pretty progressive part of the U.S. as far as natural birth options are concerned and my OB is amazing in her ability to listen to me and trust that what I feel is right. She's not pushy or pro-intervention at all.

post #12 of 17

I'm responding from reading I did during my first pregnancy four years ago, so take it with a grain of salt.  I decided not to do the testing even though I was only 2 months shy of 36 when my latest was born at home.  My reasoning (if I'm remembering correctly) is that the blood test has a high rate of false positives (that has been my friends' experience too--two friends had false positives and it FREAKED them out for quite a while).  To find out for SURE whether the baby has any problems, they needed to confirm with an amnio or choriovilli or something (atrocious spelling, sorry), both of which had risks of their own. 

 

For me it boiled down to comparing the risk of birthing a baby with a rare-ish genetic condition at home, vs the risk of having an amnio.  I felt safer risking the former.  But I don't remember what the risks are for either thing, and can't remember what research I based that decision on (if any...it may have been just a gut decision).  Something like downs will be treated the same at home vs at hospital (right?  I could actually be totally wrong on this, I'm very ignorant on the topic), but I don't know what the other conditions are that the test looks for (and how rare those conditions are).

 

Good luck making your decision!

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlyle View Post

I'm responding from reading I did during my first pregnancy four years ago, so take it with a grain of salt.  I decided not to do the testing even though I was only 2 months shy of 36 when my latest was born at home.  My reasoning (if I'm remembering correctly) is that the blood test has a high rate of false positives (that has been my friends' experience too--two friends had false positives and it FREAKED them out for quite a while).  To find out for SURE whether the baby has any problems, they needed to confirm with an amnio or choriovilli or something (atrocious spelling, sorry), both of which had risks of their own. 

 

For me it boiled down to comparing the risk of birthing a baby with a rare-ish genetic condition at home, vs the risk of having an amnio.  I felt safer risking the former.  But I don't remember what the risks are for either thing, and can't remember what research I based that decision on (if any...it may have been just a gut decision).  Something like downs will be treated the same at home vs at hospital (right?  I could actually be totally wrong on this, I'm very ignorant on the topic), but I don't know what the other conditions are that the test looks for (and how rare those conditions are).

 

Good luck making your decision!



Well, I think I am leaning away from doing any testing.  If I could get a yes or no answer, maybe I would, but I'd rather not get a statistic.  Since a yes or no is only available with an amnio or CVS, and I am not doing those at all, then it's not worth it to me.  Even if I were told "your chances are 1 in 25" or something like that, that still will make me upset and nervous the entire pregnancy, rather than feeling relieved to "know."  Only if I got a good outcome would I feel relieved, and I can't count on that. 

 

About the hospital birth, evidently babies with Downs can have other issues (heart/lungs/etc) that a NICU might be best equipped to deal with.  But, sometimes Downs isn't even diagnosed right away, so I think you'd have time to get to a hospital if there is a problem (if there is a hospital within a few miles, I guess). 

 

Anyway, that's where my thinking is right now.  I really appreciate reading about everyone's thoughts on this!!

post #14 of 17

I'm trying to decide whether or not to do that test.  I've never had it done before with my 4 previous pregnancies.  But I'm getting older and it's just in the back of my mind.  I might just do it for peace of mind as well.  I would never terminate due to something wrong though.  It's funny because I was just having this very conversation with my Mom the other day.  I still have a couple of weeks to decide but I got the paper from my doc already.

post #15 of 17

With my first daughter I declined all first trimester screening. I was also 28, and now I am 32. I am not sure what I'll do this time around, the whole process freaks me out a little tbh. I suppose I'll just take it one day at a time.

post #16 of 17

I declined it last time, and I'll decline again.  I've has 5 (!!!!) friends now who have had abnormal results come back from that test.  ALL of them stressed and stressed about those results, one of them ended up consenting to the amnio, and while her baby is fine today, apparently the experience was awful for her.  And all 5 of those ladies have normal, healthy kids, fwiw.

 

Aside from wanting to avoid unnecessary stress, I knew I was planning on having an ultrasound at 20 vweeks, where they look for physical signs of trisomy 18/21.  I realize that ultrasounds have plenty of false positives too, but it seemed to me that the ultrasound would be less invasive than, say, amniocentesis, and would also give me less worry time.

 

That said, I don't fall into a high risk category (and neither did 4 of my 5 girlfriends).  Ultimately, what worked for me doesn't work for every mama.  If your gut says, "take the test," then by all means, do it!

post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks everyone for your responses to my question.  I really appreciate all your honesty about reasons for/against the testing.  

 

DH and I had a couple of talks about it over the weekend and he ultimately made the decision for me...no testing.  Ironically, that was my position in the first place and he was the one put the thought in my head that we should consider it.  Once I explained to him that the screening is not anywhere near a definitive yes or no, he realized how much I would be stressed out at anything other than a 100% normal result.  We will do the 20wk u/s and hope that would be enough to uncover any serious issues and allow us to plan accordingly for the birth.  I just can't deal with being so stressed out over such highly inaccurate results.  I will just take my chances on my age.  It's not like I'm over 40 yet, and I was 33 when my first baby was born...not THAT much younger than I am now...and he turned out just perfectnut.gif

 

I have a great OB who trusts my instincts about these things and I can't imagine she would put any pressure on me to do the testing.  Her practice is great about offering the options and then letting mamas who are obviously well informed make their own choices.  I was never questioned once about the tests I declined in my first two pgs, and I've already declined the 1st tri screen this time without anyone batting an eyelash.  It was my own insecurity and a feeling that maybe I was just being stubborn that led me to start questioning my decision. 

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