With any testing, inluding ultrasound and blood tests, I evaluated the reasons as to why to do them, and why not, I evaluated all the possible results I could think of within reason and within my particular situation, and then I looked at what I would do with the possible bad outcomes, the good ones being a non issue.
We chose to not have ultra sounds for various (informed) reasons and we chose to accept a bad surprise as something to deal with at or after birth. A very personal choice.
The only three ultrasounds I had, were:
1 with my first child because dh wanted to know if the baby was ok. We didn't with the next 3 because we realized there is no point for us. Dh was just worried first time around and wanted to prepare mentally if something was wrong. Me, I much rather not know and enjoy the pregnancy the way it is, bond with the perfect soul inside of me and deal with any physical issues later. Very personal choice again. My faith plays a big role in my decisions.
2 when I miscarried. I wanted to know for sure that my spotting was indeed miscarrying but opted to not have any medical involvement after the fact was established and went on to have two unassisted miscarriages with a back up midwife. We buried the reamins and this was all very healing and in my opinion the way it is best.
3 when I got pregnant again after that to make sure there was a viable heartbeat. Not that we would have done anything if there wouldn't have been but I wanted to know instead of wait, out of protecting myself, not wanting to get too attached.
I do have my blood tested with each pregnancy because I am Rh- and want to at least know what my status is at conceiving. How I would proceed if I had antibodies would not have been what a general OB would have suggested I am sure, but I would have acted informed and responsibly according to what I know and researched. Any other tests I declined, again informed. I am a healthy person with no reason to believe there are hidden disasters in my blood. I know waht to watch for when pregnant and how to remain healthy etc. My responsability and choice here too.
So what I am saying is that I am all for prenatals a la carte and the mom making informed decisions about those with the help of a professional if needed.
Maria's story illustrates perfectly that "one size does not fit all" when it comes to deciding whether to have a test. In order to make an informed decision, you need to answer:
· What exactly is involved in having the test? This would include such things as discomfort.
· Are there any potential adverse effects of having the test?
· How accurate are the results? Tests evaluating fetal well-being have high false-positive rates, meaning the test says there is a problem when there really isn’t. Fetal weight estimates and due date estimates aren’t very accurate either.
· What other tests might become necessary as a result of having this one?
· What treatment would be recommended if the test diagnoses a complication?
These last two tell you whether you want to get on the train because once you get on, it may be very difficult to get off. For example, take gestational diabetes testing. Once you are identified as a gestational diabetic, you are now, inappropriately for almost all women, in my opinion, in a “high risk” category. Being treated as “X marks the spot where something could go wrong at any moment” tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy because you get subjected to tests, restrictions, and medical interventions that are far from harmless. (For more on GD testing, go to http://www.lamaze.org/NormalBirthForum/tabid/363/view/topic/forumid/11/postid/735/Default.aspx.)
With any test, you also want to consider what you will do with the information. If the answer is “nothing,” the rule is: “Don’t have the test.” For example, if you would not terminate a pregnancy under any circumstances, you may wish to refuse testing whose intent is to diagnose congenital anomalies or genetic problems. Maria also raises what the Dutch midwives call “spoiling the pregnancy.” Sometimes, for some people, it really is better not to know.
I hope this helps.