Is Prenatal Testing Worth The Anxiety It Brings? 

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Honestly, I could have done without the worry that gripped my life when the ultrasound scans couldn’t detect the sex of my second daughter. I’m not one those who want to wait D-Day to find out the flavour bun is in the oven, but in this case, I had to wait, and it was not nice to be kept waiting like that. It was waiting that was loaded, and could have taken different routes.

Every single time that I remember the doctor who performed the last scan for me, my heart blesses him. Even though he too was unable detect her sex, as my daughter was tucked away in one corner of my womb, while her brother had spread himself everywhere, the doctor was able to calm me down. He pointed that, apart from her sex that he couldn’t determine, she was fine and all her measurements were okay.

After I got that positive vibe from him, I was in no way tempted to do another scan. Till date, whenever I have been asked to do a scan, it doesn’t matter where the consulting doctor says I go to, I will go to that particular doctor’s scan center, and ask for him. Yes, I memorised his name from that scan report over five years ago. It was definitely a defining moment.

Not too long ago, a pregnant mom reached out to me just as she was awaiting the results of an amniocentesis her doctor had recommended because of her age.

In fact, due to her age, Funke had undergone a lot of tests, tests that she hadn’t done when she was previously pregnant. There was a lot of drama attached to this pregnancy, thanks to her age.

She had done a scan before the aminocentesis, and it was the stuff of scary dreams, from the body language of the radiologists to the concerned looks in the eyes of the nurse, as she was ushered into the doctor’s consulting room, ahead of others on the queue, and then the clearing of throat of the doctor was also scary, so she steeled herself to receive some bad news, and it was indeed bad news. She was told that her baby was 70 percent likely to have down syndrome.

It was worse than she imagined, and in the end, she had to call her husband from work. He came to pick her up from the hospital, heard the sad news himself and drove her home, where they both had a day, talking about the different scenarios that they would encounter.

Would the doctor suggest they terminate the pregnancy? Would they be able to do it, after all these weeks? If they decided to keep the baby, how would they cope? What about the baby’s older sibling, how would she cope? What about friends and family, what would be their reactions?

Funke and her husband were on autopilot, as they carried out their daily routines, while waiting for the day of the aminocentesis, and afterward, while waiting for the result, which was when she reached out to me.  

She has since gotten the result of the amniocentesis, and thankfully, it cleared the baby of down syndrome and any health issues, so Funke is having as close to a blissful pregnancy as it is possible for any pregnancy to be.

While I was talking to another TTC mom, Daisy, about this issue of prenatal testing, she said she wished she hadn’t bothered with any advance testing and had just stuck to the routine, while hoping for the best.

Daisy had been trying for a baby for two years before she got pregnant, and for a longed-for pregnancy, she had wanted to do everything by the book and listened and trusted her doctor to do what was best for her and her baby. So, when he suggested that they did some invasive tests, she agreed, and that was when the doctor started seeing all sorts of things. All sorts of conditions started coming up, and very soon, they were telling her that she would soon miscarry, as the pregnancy was not viable.

It was not the kind of news she wanted to hear, and sadly, the doctor’s prediction came to pass, as she lost the pregnancy at 17 weeks. It was heartbreaking.

So, not only did Daisy suffer the heartbreak of losing her child, she also had to deal with the anxiety of waiting for doctor’s reports.  And asking Dr Google endless questions about the condition, and then living with the anxiety that came with the endless answers and more questions that Dr. Google brings.

Prenatal testing isn’t mandatory for women. While women over 35 are often given (or at least offered) invasive tests like amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling(CVS), it is not always a good idea to go that route, unless something has been found to be wrong with the foetus, because both tests carry the risk of miscarriage.

Other experts say prenatal screening is important for many reasons—not the least of which is putting parents’ minds at ease.

However, if you find yourself in the same shoes, would you rather go for prenatal testings and live with the resulting anxiety while you wait for results, or just go with the flow and deal with whatever happens on delivery day?

I would really like to know.

 

 

Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here

 

Photo credits:

1. https://www.hayadan.org.il

2. https://media.npr.org/

3. http://recifezen.com.br/ 

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