Pregnancy Medical Tests … Should You Test?
Some people want to know everything. Some are more comfortable with just the basics. You will find that as you go through your pregnancy, your doctor will talk to you about a variety of tests. Some are standard, such as an ultrasound, blood test, and urine samples. Other tests may be discussed and possibly recommended, but will only be performed with your permission.
Tests may check for possible birth defects or other medical conditions, which may put the baby or mom (to be) at risk. Women, who are over the age of thirty-five, have a family history of a genetic disease, have a medical condition themselves (i.e. heart disorder), or have had unsuccessful pregnancies before may be recommended for further medical testing.
Medical tests may be as simple and non-invasive as further blood work or an additional ultrasound. More invasive testing can include procedures like amniocentesis, which may help find out if a fetus has Down Syndrome.
Before agreeing to any testing, do your homework. Use the Internet, visit your local library, and talk with your doctor.
Be sure you understand why the doctor is recommending the test.
Ask if you are able to decline the testing. Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion.
Be sure to ask about the risk factors, both to you and your unborn child.
Think about the outcomes. For example, if you did find out that the fetus has a birth defect, what would you do? Would it change your current plans? How? Given this information, consider your options, and then decide to test or not.
Pregnancy is the start of an opportunity to be a good advocate for both you and your child. With each test, do your homework, ask questions, and make your own decisions. It will be the beginning of the strength and courage you will need throughout parenthood.