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Thoughts on the 20 week ultrasound?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I had decided before I was even pregnant that I didn't want to know the sex of the baby -- in fact, I figured that I would probably not even have an ultrasound during pregnancy (though I did have one at 7 1/2 weeks because my midwives thought my hcg levels were strange - turns out all is well!).  But lately, both my hubby and I have been rethinking this, so now I'm considering finding out baby's sex.

 

But, of course, there's a more important question I need to answer first -- do I even want the 20-week ultrasound?  I'm not comfortable with having an ultrasound just to find out the baby's sex, so I feel like I really need to consider the pros and cons of the ultrasound and decide first whether I even want it.  Then we can figure out the sex question.

 

Does anyone have thoughts about this?  It seems that almost everyone has an 20-week ultrasound -- is anyone NOT doing that?  I want to make sure that, if I do it, it's for the right reasons -- not just to find out baby's sex.

post #2 of 15

I think having the ultrasound is a really personal choice....From what I have read there is no difference in mortality for the baby/mamma in terms of what they are looking for in the baby. I think they are generally trying to make sure that the baby is growing on pace, that there are no obvious physical abnormalities, and that your placenta is not blocking your cervix....but many times the ultrasound can turn up things that aren't actually a problem and then they recommend doing further testing to confirm/deny the findings.  Most of the time if your placenta is covering the cervix, it moves up later in the pregnancy (I would want to know about this, though, as it can cause massive amounts of bleeding if it doesn't move).  They can detect things like brain abnormalities so that you can prepare yourself for the kids of difficulties your child may face, and they can detect abnormalities in organs (which may or may not need surgery right after birth) so that you could prepare yourself with information about the choices/difficulties that would entail....there are a lot of things they can figure out, but having the ultrasound doesn't guarantee that they will find an issue that is present, or that they will think the see a problem that isn't actually there. 

 

Personally I want to know if there is a good likelihood that the baby would need medical attention at or just after birth.  I like to research things and I want to make sure that I am making choices that I am comfortable with.  I am also aware that they often time see things that "may or may not" indicate a problem...but for me, the "may or may not" thing isn't any different from what I already know.  Ultrasounds many times lead to more ultrasounds, so you would have to consider at what point you would want to go ahead with further monitoring vs just letting it be a "what if" circumstance. 

 

I know others don't think that the "benefits" are worth the risk, and I can totally see that POV.  Good luck in your choice!
 

post #3 of 15

I can't really say. I will do it. But with my last pregnancy they actually caught something- my baby had a cleft lip, suspected palate (which did turn out to be clefted) and it really made the rest of my pregnancy very hard. It seems so silly now with what a small part of my son that cleft is and although we really had a great outlook it still clouded all of my thoughts about my baby. Sad. Sometimes I wish I hadn't known but then I wonder how those first days postpartum would have gone. I tend to get a bit of ppd (didn't this last time!) and I wonder about that. Also, I wouldn't have been prepared for pumping and feeding. His special bottles cost $30 a piece and we were able to get some funds raised for those. Really I'm very torn.

 

One thing they didn't catch was an abnormality with our cord/placenta that would have risked me out of my homebirth. It was a life threatening issue and an OB I've talked to since called it a "miracle" that we both made it through so well. Of course, I agree and I also credit my amazing MW.


They checked my baby over and over to make sure he didn't have any related issues which was stressful for me but I didn't have to allow that either I guess. I don't do any other testing so I really rely on that 20 wk u/s to fill me in. I know there's so much they can tell. But then my friend just had a down's baby and they never caught a single marker for that at her u/s's.

 

That was long, rambly and indecisive but a good representation of my feelings on the subject: I don't know! Ugh... Good luck making your decision!

post #4 of 15
I'm similar in that I wasn't sure I wanted any ultrasounds. It just seemed unnecessary. This is my first, and so far I have not had any ultrasounds. And I don't want to know the sex. But for the reasons listed above by willsmomm and BabySmurf I will be doing the 20 week. It seems like if there is one to do, this is it.
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by willsmomm View Post

I can't really say. I will do it. But with my last pregnancy they actually caught something- my baby had a cleft lip, suspected palate (which did turn out to be clefted) and it really made the rest of my pregnancy very hard. It seems so silly now with what a small part of my son that cleft is and although we really had a great outlook it still clouded all of my thoughts about my baby. Sad. Sometimes I wish I hadn't known but then I wonder how those first days postpartum would have gone. I tend to get a bit of ppd (didn't this last time!) and I wonder about that. Also, I wouldn't have been prepared for pumping and feeding. His special bottles cost $30 a piece and we were able to get some funds raised for those. Really I'm very torn.

 

One thing they didn't catch was an abnormality with our cord/placenta that would have risked me out of my homebirth. It was a life threatening issue and an OB I've talked to since called it a "miracle" that we both made it through so well. Of course, I agree and I also credit my amazing MW.


They checked my baby over and over to make sure he didn't have any related issues which was stressful for me but I didn't have to allow that either I guess. I don't do any other testing so I really rely on that 20 wk u/s to fill me in. I know there's so much they can tell. But then my friend just had a down's baby and they never caught a single marker for that at her u/s's.

 

That was long, rambly and indecisive but a good representation of my feelings on the subject: I don't know! Ugh... Good luck making your decision!

 

 

I wonder, did you friend also have the blood work that they would need for Down's as well??

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.  You're totally right BabySmurf, it is a personal decision, and, because of that, it's one that I have to make on my own.  And I'm so torn.  It's great to hear what others are thinking, though.  I guess I have a few more weeks to decide...

post #7 of 15

Tenk, she did all the regular testing and it showed up nowhere! Isn't that crazy?

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by willsmomm View Post

Tenk, she did all the regular testing and it showed up nowhere! Isn't that crazy?


This is why I think all of these interventions are a little wacky - there is no real way to know anything until baby arrives! That being said, I still like to have the ultrasound for whatever piece of mind or jump start I can get on things.

 

To OP - I always like hearing other peoples perspectives on things like this.  Even if I know in my heart which choice I want to make, hearing about others' experiences always makes things more interesting.  Sometimes I hear things that make me question my choice and I end up changing my mind, sometimes it makes me much more sure of my choice, and other times it just gives me a whole new appreciation for the subject orngbiggrin.gif

post #9 of 15

We are doing the mid-term ultrasound.  This is our first child and we are total newbies.  With that in mind, we want to garner all the knowledge and information we can about our baby.  We want to know the gender and we want to see that all of the anatomy is forming as it should.  If there are apparent abnormalities we can proceed with the pregnancy armed w/ that knowledge on how to prepare for baby's arrival.

post #10 of 15
We have done the 20 week anatomy ultrasound with our first two pregnancies. With our first, it was for reassurance that baby was healthy and we enjoyed the bonus of finding out sex. (We went through fertility treatments so we were nervous about everything.) With our second, we were planning a homebirth and I felt it would be good to be reasssured that there were no known issues that would make hospital birth a better choice. This time around we also plan to have the 20 week ultrasound. We are planning to birth at a birth center and I believe they do encourage that ultrasound. They don't have all the technology of a hospital available so again I feel good about getting reassurance that this bub is healthy.

Of course ultrasound isn't perfect and sometimes misses things and other times there are things found that turn out to be nothing. My personal experiences with the midterm ultrasound have been positive. And I do like finding out the sex of the baby!
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by willsmomm View Post

Tenk, she did all the regular testing and it showed up nowhere! Isn't that crazy?


That is crazy and just goes to show there's no guarantees in life.  Test and things are normal and then have a baby with issues.  Test and things are not normal and have a healthy baby.

post #12 of 15

Well, I use the info given to us during ultrasound to make any preparations we may need to - so far, we've been very blessed with healthy children and clear ultrasound reports. However, I also get a stronger sense of my child when I see them moving on the screen. I love my ultrasounds. I was hesitant about the elective, but it was an amazingly positive experience. After watching how much more real it made it for our entire family, seeing the joy on my husband's face, watching my young sons smiling ear to ear as the baby wiggled on the screen - and yes, the joy of learning the baby's gender - I would never say that an ultrasound for the purpose of determining gender is "wrong".  That may not be the right reason for some, but it may be exactly right for others.

 

With that said, the anatomy scan is much more detailed than simply a gender reveal - in fact, I'm pretty sure that may be the simplest part of the entire procedure.

 

If we see a heart defect or kidney issues on our anatomy scan, for example, we'd be prepared upon delivery for whatever needed to happen next - both physically (doctors contacted, which hospital we'd deliver at may change) and emotionally. That's all - it's about preparation. (As was knowing the gender - I like to plan and prep well ahead of time!)

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

I had a conversation with my sister-in-law tonight that I have to share, because I thought that her point was such a good one.  I explained to her my indecision about having the ultrasound and told her some of the pros and cons.  After listening to me fret about it, and then listening to my husband discuss the reasons that he would feel reassured by the ultrasound, she basically said that we were worrying about it too much.  She certainly didn't mean that it was something we should take lightly, just that everything is highly likely to be ok either way -- the chance that something is wrong with the baby is slim, so it's probably fine if we choose not to have the ultrasound, and the chance that the ultrasound will harm the baby is pretty slim, so it's probably fine if we choose to have the ultrasound.  She essentially said that we have a lot of other things to occupy our minds right now (like becoming parents and all of the changes happening in our lives), and this doesn't seem like something to be overly concerned about.  I think she's right, and I think we'll have the ultrasound, in large part because it will provide reassurance to my husband (especially since we're having a home birth).  I get so hung up sometimes on what I think is the way things "should" be done, and pregnancy is really teaching me to be more flexible -- there are a lot of "right" ways to do things, and not everything needs to be a heart rending decision.  If that makes sense.

post #14 of 15

I am glad you have been able to come to a point where you are at peace w/ this predicament, littlefoxmama!  It probably feels good to be at ease about it.

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Spotty!  Yes, it does feel good to be at ease about it, and it feels good to take DH's feelings about it into account too.  I tend to have strong feelings about what I want - and, of course, I'm the one carrying this baby, so I feel like I get a little extra say - but he's a huge part of this as well, and if it will help reassure him that all is well (or let us prepare for something else in the event that's needed), I think it's a good thing.  I totally get what you said about being newbies and wanting to have as much information as possible -- we're in that boat too!

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