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Prenatal testing-- what did you opt out of?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi! I think prenatal tests are very personal decisions, and I don't think I would judge anyone for doing any or skipping any. I myself decided not to do glucose testing, the down's test (I forget what it's called) and only had one ultrasound, at 7 weeks, for the sake of dating. I also don't weigh myself or any of that.

I'm planning a midwife-assisted homebirth. What testing did you all decide to pass on? Sometimes I feel like a freak for doing it this way, but I trust my intuition above all else, in most cases. How about you?
post #2 of 21
I haven't had any testing or U/S so far. I do get weighed each time, but my MW wouldn't insist if I didn't want to. Plus, it is definitely not invasive!

I am 27 weeks.

Well, let me amend... I *did* have a pap smear at 12 weeks b/c I didn't know that I had a choice! I would never have done that if I had known!

post #3 of 21
My HB babe is 3 now, but with her I did the glucose test (but with jelly beans instead of that crappy syrup), and I didn't do the Downs test either- can't remember the name, either. DId normal weight, blood pressure and urine testing.
post #4 of 21
I peed on strips at home to watch protein/glucose.

I opted out of:

weighing myself (I'll never know how much I gained!)
vaginal exams
PAP smear
fundal height measurement
Group B strep test

Maybe I'm forgetting something? There are so many tests today...what a shame, imo.

Edited to add: no AFP, no blood draws

The money I saved that HMO...
post #5 of 21
This time I'm opting out of everything!*

Last time I did the AFP test, glucose, and I specially requested the GBS test, & had 2 U/S.

Shelia Kitzinger said something along the lines of how in the West, we undergo these prenatal tests, and they function as protective amulents to protect the pregnancy.

I think this is a wise observation, and very true. We LOVE the hospital, doctors, and medicine...this science has replaced the 'primitive' ways that man used to use...and still uses in many parts of the world.

(Obviously, prenatal care is a good thing! But I know *I* thought, on some deeper. non-logical level, that if doc said all was well, I was guarded and safe...)

*edited to add: I didn't concider weight or fundal height measurements to be 'tests' to opt out of...and I am doing those w/ my midwife...and on my OWN, I measure my bust, waist, and hips every 2 weeks, when I take my pregnancy bikini photo! For my Pregnancy #2 Commemorative Album! And I will take post-partum photos, too!!!! It is AMAZING what mothers' bodies can do! )
post #6 of 21
heheheh, pregnancy bikini photo. what a great idea!

I guess I'll start with what I have chosen to do, since that's easier.

monthly weight ~ I don't have a scale, and I started out not weighing much (115) so it is novel for me to see once a mo. how my body is changing to accomodate the pea inside me. and it's not invasive.

pap at 8? weeks with std testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia ~ I had an abnormal pap about 8-9 mo. before I got pregnant, which lead to a colposcopy which showed no abnormal cells. I wanted to be sure though. also, both partner and I had tested neg. for stds, but there was a small possibility due to when we were tested, and lag time that viruses can show up in. also, required nothing more than the pap.

blood draw for H/H, CBC, HIV and Hepatitis ~ similar to reasons for vag. std testing, plus wanting a base for my H/H, in case we read it again in later pregnancy.

glucose/protein/abnormal cells monthly pee test ~ just a good non invasive monitor for common pregnancy problems.

fundal height ~ using only as one of many guides.

BP once a mo. ~ again, one of many guides. I run low/normal, so I wouldn't likely be pigeonholed into high risk for that reason.

am considering GBS test ~ have a history of candida, and UTIs, two risk factors. partner also thinks I should do it, so trying to keep his opinions in mind. don't want to transfer to hosp. to get IV antibiotics if I *don't* test, and we feel things have gotten into risky territory like maternal fever in labor (my MW can't administer them at home, would need dr. and hospital). beginning an herbal plan of action today though, to head off any possibility of it being there.

pelvimetry done once by MW, probably done once more by back-up dr. ~ more curious than anything else. come from family of birthing hipped women. small everywhere else except internal pelvic dimensions, and they have only gotten more generous, which just insures that CPD can never be used on me as an excuse for anything.

no AFP, GTT, ultrasounds, amnio, monthly vag. checks.

post #7 of 21
I did:
1st trimester pap
triple marker blood test
GBS test (I flunked)
2 ultrasounds - one for dates, one routine
some other random blood test
urine, blood pressure, weight, measurements, heartbeat

I refused:
amnio and all those fetus-poking things
GD test
to know the gender
post #8 of 21
w/dd, we pretty much did it all....and really regretted it as we felt that it added more stress than it reduced, KWIM? I tested positive for almost everything! LOL...and nothing could really be *done* about any of it. But at the time, I figured "why not?" and have definitely changed my mind about that!

I agree w/the sheila K. quote, and that is why I opted not to have any other opinions w/ds's birth. I don't believe that all of it actually has much warrant anyway and felt as safe w/o the care as w/it to be honest. We didn't do anything....besides a lot of our own work. I checked my BP a couple of times at the drug store things, and was very bemused to find that BP was not up at all as it was w/dd. It helped confirm my theory that the MW visits were adding to my stress/high BP rather than helping. I just figured his heart must be beating if he was kicking so much!!
post #9 of 21
I got basic blood work and a PAP to test for STD's and the like at the very beginning of my first pregnancy. Throughout both my pregnancies, we did fundal measuring through palpation, blood pressure, and those urine stick tests. That's it.
Oh - and we listened to the heartbeat each month.
post #10 of 21
If I do it over again I will refuse even more stuff. I'll do the urine tests, weight, measurements and blood pressure, but insist that the heartbeat be done with a fetoscope. I'll only have one US. I'll do the pelvic exam, but only a manual one - no speculum. No pap smear or routine blood tests. I'll probably do the GBS though.

I also never did those stress and non-stress tests, since I delivered at 38 weeks.
post #11 of 21

What the state says....

I'm planning a HB with a CPM. She has told me that the state of CT (where we live and birth) requires that a pg woman has to be tested for HIV twice during pg. If the mother opts not to be tested then if the mother is transfered and admitted the baby will be tested. So to avoid invasive procedures to the baby I'm getting it done. I really hate it but would hate to have the baby stuck! THat is the reason that I have to visit with a CNM to get this done. My MW does not do labs.

Other than that my MW does:
urine dip each visit
blood pressure
fundal hight

I think that is it.

Take care-
post #12 of 21

Re: Prenatal testing-- what did you opt out of?

Originally posted by Ubertulip
What testing did you all decide to pass on?
Shorter to list what I DID do:

initial panel minus the HIV, STDs, Pap ( which is just a hct/hgb, blood typing, red and white count, RPR and Rubella)

hct/hgb at 28 and 36 weeks

routine prenatal test such as BP, urine dip and listening to baby with fetoscope or doppler

that was it!
post #13 of 21
I'm not sure of the value of all the prenatal appointments - but I do want to get to know my birth attendants so I'll be as comfortable with them as possible while they're there and I'm 'indisposed'.

they take my bp, pee and weigh me each time. the measure the fundus and palpate the babe within. and they ck the heartbeat w/the doppler, dh digs it. and it's short and i can't find anything that says this will be worse than not, so, gr.

i'd tell them not to weigh me if i had a problem. i'm not really gaining that much. i was already heafty, but i don't really have a problem w/whatever it takes while i'm pg. except for being uncomfortable, i'm pretty ok w/my pre-preg weight. i'd still like to be less pudgy overall. point being, i don't know how much psychosomatic crud i've got invested in the weight thing. but i think it can be a prob for some women, so i prly think about it too much.

i had inital blood drawn. showed the usual battery of stuff, no issues.

no genetic screening. includes the trip-screen. and therefore no amino. i hate needles, anyway.

only had a u/s to look at the polyp, (not the babe, no dates or sex or anything, just a quick peek to see that "he" was there, then on to measure the polyp). and i'd rather forego any pelvic exams, except that the polyp was causing so much bleeding, pelvic confirmed it was there. sugery removed it - plenty invasive for me for one pg, thanks. that u/s was hell. it took me 4 days to recover from the bruising from the dang mouse thing. after 2 hours of being jabbed at. bleh.

my BA was really pushing the pap. i don't want one. had one last feb (nearly a year ago). never got one, even with all that cervical futzing w/the polyp. and i finally just said, no, let's wait. i'd really rather not get one, and i'm starting to question the value of doing them annually, esp considering the rate of false positives and negatives. will start looking that up shortly.....

at the next appointment we're drawing for glucose. i thot this was an actual glucose tollerance test - no way am i doing that while i'm pg, i wouldn't care if i had gestational diabetes, that test is horrid. the brain (and esp a baby's brain) is too dependant on glucose, i'm not fiddling around w/my glucose levels for a SERIES of blood draws (also goes back to the needle-wimp thing.) anyway, this is the single draw. still seems worthless to me w/out a series to compare to, but what the hell. it's the range of blood flux in a specific length of time that matters... i'll make 'em explain it again when we get there. feh.

and they can have a culture to ck for hep-b. aparently it's required. and since it's a swab instead of a slice, fine.

hm, i suppose that's sort of a mix of what i did and didn't do and why...

post #14 of 21

do you mean group B (as in strep) instead of hep B? usually hep B is a blood draw test. group B strep is a vag and rectal swab (only the first 3rd of the vagina).

btw~ I think your avoidance of beaucoup interventions in light of your polyp situation is really great. that took wisdom and courage to avoid heading down the slope into medical management.

post #15 of 21
What did you opt out of in the way of prenatal testing?
I did only the first and last blood test, the weigh-ins, the urine tests at each visit, b/p readings, fundal measurement and fetascope.

In 4 pregnancies and subsequent homebirths, I never had a U/S b/c I think we will find they are dangerous. Another name for U/S is "non-ionizing radiation".

My own mom had X-ray pelvimetry w/ each of her nine pregnancies, eight of which were completed at home. Now we supposedly know better about X-rays and pregnancy, but for seventy years they were considered not dangerous and the rule for a good routine of prenatal care.

I was a candidate for an aminocentisis during my last pregnancy b/c I was well over 35. No GTT, no stress tests.
post #16 of 21
I haven't made it in for any prenatal exams yet because of medicaid paperwork, but I will and will not do the following:

No amniocentesis
Will do an early ultrasound because twins run RAMPANT in my family and my pants are tight already at five weeks post-conception, but not later because I don't want the sex known.

Will get blood tests for glucose (I'm hypoglycemic) BUT only the one hour test (because I'm hypoglycemic--did the 12 hour test when I was 13 or so and swore I'd NEVER do that s**t again, so just the 1 hour test)

also will be tested for thyroid hormone levels (because I'm hypothyroidic and it's been almost a year since I was tested and I take synthetic hormone for it)

No pap or hiv test or other std tests (just did the whole thing last fall, military did the hiv testing like they did every year, I just got out of the reserves, and my sexual history doesn't warrant a repeat at this time).

They only get to stick me for bloodwork once! I don't care what other tests they do with that sample, but they only get one shot at it (they'll probably take four or five vials
: )

I'll pee in a cup if they ask me nice and let me know in advance (I daresay I'm well trained for this test, thanks to the Navy, but I won't wait around half the day trying to pee!)

I have no desire to be frequently weighed, but also no real objections to it.

I'll take my own blood pressure at home as well as letting them do it in the office. According to my anatomy and physiology professor (who has done research on medical testing equipment), just being in an office and seen by a professional can raise blood pressure 15 points! It's also more likely to be accurate if I do it myself than if the machine does it (those electronic machines vary greatly in accuracy.) I do intend to monitor this because there's a history of problems in my family (specifically, my mother while pg with me) with high blood pressure, particularly towards the end of pg.
post #17 of 21
I did have a thyroid panel done w/ my regular CBC; I do have low thyroid function.

However no one did anything about it - just "Yes, you do have low thyroid, but there is no treatment for it . . ."

I waved it during subsequent pregnancies. Why pay for something you already know?
post #18 of 21
I started out with midwives that worked at a hospital and so I did the initial blood workup and the one hour glucose test. (That was the worst thing nutritionally that I ingested during my pregnancy.) It didn't occur to me to opt out of it, but I would have. I opted out of pretty much everything else. After switching to a HB midwife, I still peed on a stick and got weighed, blood pressure, weight, fundal height and the blood work at the end. We worried a bit at the end about low amniotic fluid, and took a wait and see attitude. Dd was born before we had to wait too long.

I am still educating myself on these things for next time. I now lean toward the unassisted edge of the spectrum, but am still afraid of group b strep etc. (I still have a few years before I have to decide )
post #19 of 21
A good thing about having a mw is that I was allowed to pick what tests I wanted. I chose not to have the glucose test, I did not feel like vomiting again, and the memory of that nasty thick orange soda-like drink still sticks in my mind, so I knew I would not be able to drink it anyhow. Strong gag reflex.
post #20 of 21
I refused the GD test specifically because of the drink. I have a personal policy against ingesting anything that tastes bad. I mentioned this to the OB and she said instead of the drink, I could eat a high-carb breakfast - pancakes with lots of syrup, orange juice, etc.

So if they tell you the drink is the only way to go, they're not being up front.

I refused the test anyway because I saw no reason to do it - I decided that if my urine tests started showing lots of sugar, then I would do the pancake thing.
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