Pros and Cons of Prenatal Testing

Discussion in 'Pregnancy Help' started by ECUBitzy, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. ECUBitzy

    ECUBitzy Well-Known Member

    TS mamas, I would love to hear everybody's thoughts on prenatal testing and screenings. In addition to the standard screenings that I was offered (over four years ago now!) there is now the option of the Harmony testing. I think it could be very helpful to new expectant parents to hear others' experiences, process for deciding, and outcomes of the different tests that are now available.
  2. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Let's see - I did get my bloodwork done for both pregnancies.  After we found out I'm Rh-, DH had his bloodwork done too to see if I needed to receive rhogam or not.  Turns out he's positive so more shots for me (boo!).  We did not have the nuchal translucency screening done for either pregnancy.  We knew it wouldn't affect our decision to continue with the pregnancies or not and the screenings aren't conclusive - abnormal results need to be investigated further via amnio (which I would not have consented to because of the risks involved).  With the twins, we did do ultrasounds every other week to screen for TTTS because they were mono-di but with Emmett we only did the 2nd trimester ultrasound screen because a) DH was adamant about confirming number of babies present and b) we wanted to rule out any possible complications with placenta placement as we were planning a homebirth.  I did do the GD screening with both pregnancies as I have a family history of type II diabetes as well as one sister who did have GD.  The girls were born before I was far enough along to be screened for GBS however I did do the swab when I was pregnant with Emmett at 36 weeks.  I tested positive so we had antibiotics on hand at his birth in case they were needed.  I refused routine vaginal exams during my pregnancy with Emmett - actually, I only had one VE total with him and it was when I was 9.5 cm dilated.  I agreed when the midwife offered it because I was suddenly worried I was still in early labor with him even though I KNEW I was in transition.  Labor brain.  So fun.  ;)  With the girls, I wish I had refused them but didn't really know that I could.
    When deciding whether to have a test or screen done I usually consider the risks of the test itself, what information will be gained from the test and what will we do with that information (ie is it a screen or a diagnostic test? Will it change our course of care or future decisions we may make?  Will it result in more testing?), the accuracy of the test (what are the false positive/false negative rates?), how invasive the test is and whether there are alternatives to finding out the same information, as well as checking in with what my intuition is saying.
    2 people like this.
  3. becasquared

    becasquared Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I elected to have the standard tests plus the additional CF testing since I have an uncle that died at the age of two from CF. I needed to know what sort of medical challenges we could have faced and what options were available to us.
  4. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    We did the nuchal translucency test mostly because it was my first pregnancy and I was really excited to have an ultrasound (and boy was I glad I did because I would not have wanted to wait until 20 weeks for the twin news!). I did all the standard screenings for blood work, gestational diabetes etc. We also did bi-weekly ultrasounds for TTTS.
    What Rachel said is spot on. Like Bex mentioned, I also think it's important to consider family history. It's kind of up to your personal limits though; some people are capable of dealing with any type of surprise, some people want to be prepared and know what may be ahead. Those are decisions you have to make for yourself.
  5. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    We didn't do a lot of them when I was pregnant with the twins because they have skewed results for twins. This time, I just didn't think they were necessary. We had a robust ultrasound that we thought would cover most of what we wanted to know. We actually ended up with a second because they couldn't get a good picture of her heart or kidneys the first time.

    We did do GD screening. I'm overweight and have a family history of type II (no GD either time--woohoo!). We did GBS swab (and I was positive, but having csection so no big deal). I declined vaginal exams (my OB was fine with it) because they don't really tell you anything useful unless you are in labor (and I was having a csection anyway).
  6. mama_dragon

    mama_dragon Well-Known Member

    I had CF genetic testing prior to pregnancy.  It runs in my family. I found out I am a CF gene carrier so my DH had to get tested.  He was negative for the common mutations and the risk was very low that he had one of the uncommon mutations.  So we did no testing on the boys other then the newborn CF screen. 
    I declined all screening blood tests.  We would not have terminated so did not see the point of adding extra anxiety.   Even the new harmony test just gives you a risk ratio.  It is not a diagnostic test and requires additional more invasive testing if you have a positive to see if it is a true positive.  We would not have had the additional testing so no point.  Plus the test offered at the time has a high risk of false results due to twins. 
    We did have the detailed sonogram in addition to bi-weekly sonograms. 
  7. Katheros

    Katheros Well-Known Member

    I've always done the standard first trimester blood work for me and turned down the tests for abnormalities.  As others mentioned, the results wouldn't have changed my mind on carrying the pregnancy and the rate of false positives made me leery.  With this pregnancy and my last it was recommended I get some sort of testing done because my husband is Jewish but I declined.  There are some genetic abnormalities that can occur but it's more common when the mother is Jewish which I'm not. There are also two main lines of Judaism, one carries the gene the other doesn't, my husband is from the line that doesn't.
    With the twins and my last pregnancy I did the one hour GD test, passed both times, but was horrifically sick afterward both times.  I declined this time.  I'm monitoring my urine and I don't have a problem getting it done later on if there's an issue, but I don't want to put myself through that without a reason. 
  8. ECUBitzy

    ECUBitzy Well-Known Member

    Great information!
    We also did the GD test and bi-weekly ultrasounds but declined everything else. I am already too anxious without the risks of false-positives brought onto the table. I was having enough trouble digesting what we *did* know. 
  9. rayceryin12

    rayceryin12 Well-Known Member

    For both my pregnancies, I did the standard blood work and GD tests. I declined all other tests.... I didn't want to work for no reason!
  10. Danibell

    Danibell Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I also did the standard bloodwork and GD testing, although with my second and third pregnancies I had to do the GD test twice, and both times I just barely failed the 1 hr and had to do the 3 hr (and passed them all).  We also didn't ask for any of the extra testing because it wouldn't have changed  our decision about the pregnancy. 
    I had 2 u/s with my first child, the standard 20 wk one (where we couldn't see the gender), then i asked again at 34 wks for another one because I was anxious to find out what we were having.
    I had 3 u/s's with my second child.  1 early one through my RE, 18 wk gender u/s at an outside facility, then the standard 20 wk one at my ob.
    I had more u/s's with the twins, but I had to ask for them.  My ob was only planning to do the 20wk scan.  I had back to back miscarriages before getting pregnant with the twins, and the though of not being able to check on both babies terrifed me.  I had to request to be transferred to a specialist, the first dr I saw there treated me like a nutcase, even after explaining what I'd been through (miscarriages and fertility treatments).  Thankfully i only saw that jackass once, the other dr's were much more pleasant and had no problems with my request for extra monitoring.  I had 2 early u/s through my RE, then started 6 wk u/s at 14 wks through the specialist.  Also an 18 wk gender scan at the same outside facility, and the 20 wk scan through my ob.  So 6 wks, 8 wks, 14 wks, 18 wks, 20 wks, 26 wks, 32 wks, 36 wks.  8 u/s total for that pregnancy.
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