articles / Pregnancy

Tests run during pregnancy

At my prenatal visit earlier this week, I was expecting to have my blood drawn. It seems like when I was pregnant with Josiah they were constantly drawing my blood.During my visit the doctor said I didn’t have any mandatory blood draws this time, but that I could have my blood drawn to test for down syndrome.

There's not too many good photos to go with this post, so I thought this was a good reminder to everyone...

There’s not too many good photos to go with this post, so I thought this was a good reminder to everyone…of course I don’t believe in “luck,” but you get the point.

This test has a bad reputation for false positives, the doctor even said so. If it turns up positive, that does NOT mean the baby has Down Syndrome, it means you have to have further testing done. If it’s positive the doctor would send me to the big hospital for a 4D ultrasound to confirm whether the baby had it or not. I told the doctor no. I wasn’t worried about testing my baby right now for that.

Am I saying I have the false idea that my baby would be immune to something like that? No. What I’m saying is our family is not concerned about testing for Down Syndrome because if it came up positive, it wouldn’t change anything. Down Syndrome is not something that requires specialists at the deliver such as Cystic Fibrosis or a cleft. Why would it matter to me any more now than later whether or not my baby has Down Syndrome? For that matter, even my doctor said we’d be doing my big ultrasound in a few weeks and we’d notice something abnormal on there if there was an issue.

So why does the four weeks matter? Sadly, for some women, that four weeks matters because they have the option of having an abortion before 20 weeks.

I have always stood by the Biblical standing that a baby is a baby (human) at conception and have always been very much against abortion. The fact that we’ve had so many problems getting pregnant has just made that conviction even stronger. It breaks my heart that I’ve tried so hard for three years to get pregnant, yet women are out there getting abortions (yes, plural because that happens). OK. I’m off my soap box now. Back to the genetic testing.

There are many important things the doctor checks for when drawing blood, such as STDs and genetic illnesses like Cystic Fibrosis. These are non-invasive prenatal tests that you may or may not have known you were tested for.

Women also have the option to have more invasive testing done such as the amniocentesis and the chorionic villus sampling (CVS). The amniocentesis is where they actually stick a needle into your stomach during pregnancy to test for things. Both of these tests elevate your chance of miscarriage.

amnioThe amnio miscarriage statistics are about 1 in 100. The amnio can also cause vaginal bleeding and leaking of amniotic fluid.  This test is performed between 15-20 weeks, which means if you start leaking fluid or go into labor, chances of the baby surviving are small.

The CVS test, actually tests a sample of the placenta (doesn’t sound pleasant). This test is done between 10-12 weeks and it increases your chances of miscarriage by an extra percent. For some women, an extra percent increase is a lot.  For me, because of four previous miscarriages, my chances of miscarrying this baby was above 45%. Those odds are not good so why would I increase them? (Note: Of course I beat the odds because my God is bigger than “scientific” statistics).

These two tests are for women who are at high risk for genetic issues like Down Syndrome, Trisomy 13, Trisomy 18 and Tay-Sachs.  My doctor has never even mentioned these tests to me, let alone offered to do them.

The best thing to do is be prepared. Many of the prenatal books like “What to Expect,” and even Babycenter.com can give you an idea of what they’ll be testing for at what time. Learn about the risks of the tests and the accuracy of the tests. Sadly, you can’t just blindly trust a doctor to have your best interest or the best interest of your baby in mind.

 

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