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Mothering › Groups › October 2013 Due Date Club › Discussions › Why so many ultrasounds and tests?

Why so many ultrasounds and tests?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

So, I'm a little confused.  I know a lot of woman on here are having midwife assisted and even unassisted births, so how are there so many ultrasounds and beta HCGs happening/being scheduled?  I've always been under the impression that one ultrasound at 20 weeks is plenty and beta HCGs were just for women doing ART.  I didn't even know they offered ultrasounds so early!  Has the birthing world really changed that much since I  had my daughter 7 years ago.  Someone please fill me in.

post #2 of 15

I know!  My son is 14 and I was confirmed pregnant at 6 weeks and didn't see anyone until the first scan at 19 weeks... This time round, I got my BFP on IVF, so I'm one of the multiple scan/HCG tests etc.  Looking back, there was no internet like it is now, so I did all my worrying from What to Expect... LOL  I think I was far more relaxed not worrying about blood test levels and scans in hindsight though! Ignorance was bliss compared to this!

post #3 of 15

I've had four miscarriages, so this pregnancy I got lab work related to recurrent pregnancy loss that includes Betas, though the Betas were probably unnecessary in hindsight. This is my first pregnancy I've ever done that (or received prenatal care in my first trimester), and I wouldn't if I hadn't had so many miscarriages trying to conceive this child. The testing showed nothing, but I could have found out that I had a disorder that treatment could have helped me keep this pregnancy. I declined an early ultrasound and won't have one unless my 13 week appointment fails to find a heartbeat.

post #4 of 15

With my first, just two years ago, I had no beta hcg, and an ultrasound for the first time at 18 weeks (I think - could have been a bit earlier or later).  This time around I've had my hcgs tested because I truly don't know when I conceived.  I could, in theory, be anywhere from 4 weeks to 12 weeks pregnant.  Though I highly highly doubt I'm near the 12 week mark, I can understand why the midwives charged with my care would want to know.  And they don't want to do an unnecessary early ultrasound if it's not likely to show anything (because I'm closer to 4 weeks).  I can't speak for anyone else, though, obviously.

post #5 of 15

I will have two u/s's this pregnancy.  One at my 8 week appointment to make sure there is a hb and that there is only one in there, and then another at 20 weeks for the anatomy scan.  Both I feel are important for me.  If there are more than one in there I might not have a homebirth....

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

I totally understand why someone would have extra testing if they've had recurrent miscarriages or used assisted reproductive technology AND I even understand if people are just doing it for peace of mind, but what is strange to me is how it's being allowed?  I know my insurance wouldn't cover anything but a 20 week scan in a normal healthy pregnancy and my midwives I'm sure would find it odd if I were to request any extra screening knowing that my choice to go with a midwife goes hand in hand with my choice to use less intervention.  Maybe this attitude is just particular to the area in which I live, but most people that choose to have a midwife around here, choose to forgo all ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy.  I'm actually the oddball being the mama who wants the 20 week ultrasound done.  So, I was just looking for some insight.  Do homebirth midwives regularly suggest early ultrasounds and HCG testing in other parts of the country?

post #7 of 15
My MW ordered my dating us and hcg.
I'd want 1 ultrasound even with a hb to see placental placement.
post #8 of 15
I don't even go in to see my midwife until the very end of the first trimester. The 20week anatomy scan is referred out and it is recommended and not required. I opt for it every time. I don't peek at the baby's sex but I think it's good to know in advance that the placenta looks to be in a favorable position and baby looks good and measures approximately to our edd.
post #9 of 15

I agree with the OP, it seems very odd to me too but then again I don't know a thing about reproductive assistive  processes and what they entail, or for those with a history of miscarriage. But do they usually help at all? Or just for peace of mind?


ill be having extra (more than 2) ultrasounds to check my cervical status if I am experiencing PTL symptoms, though. :/ but now there is the first one to be scheduled for anytime during weeks 11-14.  The very early stuff seems like it only serves to put ones mind at ease but I guess there are amazing treatments that can intervene and prevent miscarriage ? That would be pretty amazing.

post #10 of 15

I don't have HCG draws because I don't have recurring m/c's or any fertility problems.  My Dr. orders the u/s's and my insurance pays for one dating u/s and then the anatomy scan.  I had a completely different insurance with Dd and they did the same.

post #11 of 15
I wouldn't call them amazing, but recurrent miscarriage can sometimes be caused by an underlying health issue such as lupus, clotting disorders, thyroid issues, etc...and treating the underlying health issue to improve the chances of a healthy pregnancy, so if you've had a lot of miscarriages in a row it's worth testing to see if you have one of these disorders. Betas are often used to check progesterone, because even though progesterone supplementation in non-ART cases hasn't been well-studied, it's common practice (which is why I think I probably should have declined betas, but I didn't know about the controversial nature of progesterone supplementation when I agreed).
post #12 of 15

It has changed A Lot IMHO. DH and I went through unexplained subfertility for 4 years. I did US, blood draws, the works to try and get pregnant. None of it worked. A year later we are pregnant all on our own and we have decided to to a UC. I am getting prenatal care but am not doing an US. I did one beta HCG right after I got a BFP at home and that was it. No plans on anything else invasive or extra fo rme this go round.

post #13 of 15

Well I've only had one loss so far (hopefully this ones healthy!) My Dr. pointed out that there isn't much point to testing betas. Many people double and still have a miscarriage later (I would have with my loss as it wasn't in those early days). So really taking betas doesn't matter. For me I think it would cause unnecessary stress, so I'm just not planning to do it.

post #14 of 15

Where I live (Alabama), midwifery is not even an option.  There are some who live close to state borders who choose to go out of state for their care, but for many of us that is not an option.  I had one prior miscarriage which was a missed miscarriage discovered at the 8 week ultrasound - many women miscarry yet continue for weeks with no symptoms of the loss.   With only 1 loss, I am not being treated as anything other than a normal healthy pregnant woman.  Standard of care at the OB/GYN I use is an ultrasound at 8 weeks to confirm heartbeat (and check for multiples) and another at 20.  I will also be having an ultrasound for nuchal translucency screening at a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist at 12 weeks, and my insurance covers this as a standard procedure to determine risk of Downs and abnormalities.

post #15 of 15

I'm thinking of waiting until 16 weeks to go the OB. I had a full physical with pap smear the month before I conceived and was given a clean bill of health. Ulterior motive, I'd really like to find out the sex and I know I'll get an U/S the first time I go. By 16 weeks they should be able to tell me boy or girl. If it's a boy, I have a lot of baby girl clothes I need to re-home. I got rid of all my baby boy stuff after #3, because I thought we were done. redface.gif

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