We're planning our first home birth this June -- no pelvic exam for me (I just had a Pap smear last summer) to the shock of the CNMs!
I did get my blood work done -- it was interesting to find out that my hemoglobin levels were already low at that point (i.e. borderline anemic -- I had no idea!). They tend to dip a lot in the second trimester so I started being very intentional about getting enough protein then before it became a problem. So, for that I'm glad I did it -- insurance paid for it.
check out the online childbirth class on www.unhinderedliving.com.
I had blood work done at 15 or 18 weeks last time just to get on Medicaid as a back up for my planned homebirth. The state also requires you get a pelvic exam twice in your pg, once in the 1st tri and once at 36 weeks. But after the CNM used doppler to get a heartbeat after us insisting we did not want ultrasound (Doppler IS ultrasound) I refused to go in at 36 wks.
I personally think that all you really need to know will show up on the urine strip tests. Provided of course that your diet is supplying all your nutritional needs.
oh yeah, forgot to mention that when I got my blood drawn, I had to wait around for about 3-4 hours without food (well, luckily I had some fruit with me) and then the nurse that drew the blood had to stick me 5 times and after she was done she nicked my blood vessel as she was pulling the needle out so I (my arm)basically looked like a heroin user for about a month and a half after that. great