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    Find out what other moms-to-be are asking. Join in the discussion with Henci Goer, whose expertise is determining what the research tells us best promotes safe, healthy birth. If you would like to contact Henci outside of the Ask Henci forum, send an email to

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    Aug 28

    Blood Tests as First Prenatal Visit

    Beth Dueck

    I am 31 yrs old, and expecting my 4th child.  One of the things I am least looking forward to is the blood tests that are done at the first prenatal visit.  They make me feel nauseous and faint, and I feel bad for the rest of the day.  I am healthy, low risk, and all of my former pregnancies were healthy.  My children were all delivered by midwives, the first 2 at a hospital, the 3rd one at home, because the hospital closed.  My midwife did not push many tests, but she did insist on the initial blood tests.  It seems to me that this should not be necessary.  My blood type is already established, I have no risk of stds, and I have never had any negative results from my blood tests.  If they are worried about anemia, couldn't this be tested with a simple pin prick?  I think that baby and I need those 4 vials of blood more than the lab does!  


    Henci Goer

    I think the best way to handle this is to use the acronym BRAIN in a discussion with your midwife. (I would credit the source, but I don't know it.) It is generic, so you can use it for making any decision you may need to make about your care.

    Benefits: Why are you recommending this? In the case of a test, what do you hope to learn?

    Risks: What are the potential problems? This would be the time to bring up your unpleasant symptoms.

    Alternatives, including doing nothing: In this case, it could be not doing the blood test at all or perhaps doing more limited testing. You also want to know the pros and cons of the alternatives.

    Intuition/instinct: Once you have the information and have digested it, what is your heart or gut telling you?

    No or not now: You have the right to refuse any medical procedure. If you do decide to refuse, I recommend having a discussion about the circumstances under which you would reconsider or change your mind.

    I hope this will help you and your midwife to come to an agreement that is satisfactory for both of you. 

    ~ Henci

    All Times America/New_York

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