Prenatal Testing

There have been many advancements in prenatal care. When I tell my mother about all of the tests I have to take she is always surprised. When she was pregnant with me and my brothers she didn’t have any of the screening tests they have now.

Since I have been pregnant, I have been taken through a series of tests. Many of which are just screening tests and not diagnostic tests.

Here is a summary of the tests I have gone through up till now (I am currently 28 weeks)

1. At every pre-natal visit they take blood, blood pressure, weight and have me pee in a cup

2. MaterniT21 test- this is a blood test that can tell you if the baby has Down’s syndrome as well as the gender of the baby (we’re having a boy!) we were able to find out at 11 weeks. Pretty amazing!

3. Nuchal Translucency Test- this is another screening for Down’s syndrome done at around 12 weeks. They test by taking your blood and measuring the folds in the back of the baby’s neck. Then they take that data and crunch it with your age to provide you a probability assessment so you can see what your risk is of having a baby with Down’s or Trisomy 13 & 18.

4. AlphaFeto protein – This is a blood test (again) to see if the baby has Down’s syndrome they do this by taking your blood. The test is typically done at around 15 weeks

5. Glucose Screening test (1 hour)- You fast for four hours and then drink a sugary drink that tastes like orange soda. Then you wait an hour and they take your blood. This is testing blood sugar and your bodies ability to process sugar. Ultimately, they are checking to see if you have Gestational Diabetes. If you fail this test (as I did) you then have to take this next test.

6. Glucose Tolerance Test- this one is even more fun in that you fast for 8 hours and you get to hang out at a lab for 3 hours. Yay! They take your blood when you first arrive, then after you drink a sugary drink and then every hour after that All in the course of 3 hours. This is a more definitive test to see if you have Gestational Diabetes. I was fortunate to pass this test.

Each test I found myself stressed out about the results. Even though each one came back okay I was still worried. Every. Single. Time.

I am very grateful that our medical care has advanced so much. It’s wonderful to know all of this information so that you can have the most healthy pregnancy possible.

With that said, I can’t help but think it would be so very nice to be blissfully ignorant and not have to go through all of the tests. I think that it would make for a less stressful pregnancy experience.

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