Monday, February 9, 2015

Prenatal Tests I Refused (and why)

There are an inordinate amount of prenatal related tests from blood work to vaginal checks and beyond. I strongly believe that every women should be informed of the tests being performed, and thus with careful consideration and research these are the ones I decided were not for me.

  1. Any genetic testing. Most of the genetic testing is very invasive and carries a risk of miscarriage. I'm not talking about the basic blood work that your doctor schedules in your first trimester. I opted out of chorionic villus sampling, Tay-Sachs, the cystic fibrosis test, down syndrome, amniocentesis and sickle cell anemia. These tests were extra, and many just seemed unnecessary to me.
  2. Another test I will be opting out of (it hasn't been done yet, they do this one at or around 24 weeks, I'm at 16 weeks) is the Gestational Diabetes test. Now, I will take this test if my doctor allows me to drink or eat something other then the Glucola. I won't be consuming the Glucola because the ingredient list is basically corn syrup, 50 grams of sugar polymer and lots of food coloring. I do not eat corn or drink corn syrup (its GMO!) and I never eat anything with food coloring it. I can't imagine changing this--in fact, I watch what I eat more now that I am expecting. This is just a personal preference towards nutrition for me.
  3. The Tdap and flu shot. Personally, I don't think it is safe to administer a vaccine while pregnant. Since I've had previous seizures from vaccines, I will be avoiding this. This is personal to me because I know I have had serious reactions to vaccines in the past.
  4. I will be refusing the group B streptococcus screening. If you don't know, group B step is a common bacteria found in the intestines and sometimes vaginas of women. If you test positive for group B, you must get antibiotics during delivery. I really don't want a IV during labor and I don't feel worried that group B will harm my baby if I happen to test positive. Only 2% of babies born to group B positive women get sick from group B, and of those 2% only .6% have serious complications. Also, in my research I saw that even if antibodies are administered, a baby can still catch group B.  
  5. Any vaginal checks in the third trimester. I want to avoid introducing anything foreign into my vagina and I'm not worried about seeing if I'm dilated or not. When I dilate, I'm sure I'll eventually find out. 
Every expectant mother must make their own decision and do their own research about tests that their provider will be giving during pregnancy. These are the tests I felt were not safe for me.

What about you? Where there any tests you decided not to do? 


Brita Long said...

I'm so glad that you're sharing these choices during your pregnancy journey. A lot of pregnant women feel pressured by doctors into doing things they're not comfortable doing. Women have been pregnant and giving birth for millennia. Unless you're high-risk for something (like if someone in your family has one of those genetic conditions), not all the tests and procedures are necessary.

Sarah said...

As you seem to have an approach that doesn't line up with many doctor and standard hospital policies, I'd be interested in hearing why you haven't choosen to do a homebirth. It seems like an independent midwife would be more accommodating than a traditional doctors office.

Carolynn said...

I do have a midwife doing my delivery! I would jump at a homebirth but my husband was not interested, and he wanted to err on the side of cautious! So we talked about it and chose a to give birth at a hospital. I should make a list of all the tests I said yes to this and it would be like 24 things! So I feel like in comparison there was very little I chose not to do... But maybe that's just from my perspective!

Quinault Squatting Bear said...

If you refuse GBS you need to see what the hospital protocol is. If you haven't been tested, and you haven't had the IV antibiotics, often your baby won't be released from the hospital for 48 rather than 24 hours.

Instead of Glucola, I self monitor my blood sugar 4 times a day for a week and report the results to my caregiver. That means no glucola, and I am still being tested for gestational diabetes.

Downs Syndrome is part of the Quad or Triple Screen, not a stand alone test. You couldn't decline just that test because it isn't a single test.

The CF test is actually pretty important. Having a negative test means that if your baby has breathing issues in the future, that is one less blood test for them later. It is a very simple blood test, and CF is treatable- especially if caught early. If your husband knows his carrier status too, you can know with 100% certainty whether or not your child could have CF. Normally the CF test is part of the prenatal screening along with your MMR immunity, blood type etc.

I am carrying my 7th child (my 11th pregnancy), so I have been on this road a few times.

Carolynn said...

I thought the eye goop was for chlamydia or gonorrhea? I did get the test for that.

I am hoping I can do something different for the blood sugar test. I just havnt gotten to that part yet. I just know I won't be drinking the gulcola. If they have amother option I will do it although I highly doubt I will have gestational diabeties.

I havnt gone over what things the hospital will want to do to baby after birth yet, but I already know I will most likey wish to refuse everything.

I wasn't sure of the name of the specific test that Down syndrome was a part of. I might have done the other one that you mentioned was important but I don't rememeber them mentioning it. I did all the standard blood work and refused the second set they said was for genetic and abnormalities. I read what was in that test and didn't feel it was important af my doctor didn't pressure me at all.

My doctor says group b strep antibiotics are mandatory if you test positive. I don't want to fight with them so I am thinking as of right now I will not take the test.

Thank you for all the information!

katie terry said...

Same question here -- regardless of physician vs. midwife care, if you're opting out of just about *every* evidence-based standard of care for the third trimester, why are you even seeing a provider? For some things, like the diabetes testing, there are workarounds if you're willing to put in extra effort (most people won't, hence the prevalence of the more convenient, if saccharine, Glucola test). But for many of them, especially influenza, pertussis (part of Tdap), and GBS, the odds are low but the stakes are so, SO high. It's exactly the same question as we see surrounding immunizations right now -- if you don't value the domain of medical science and your provider's expertise enough to comply with basic, proven preventative care against high-stakes negative outcomes, why are you even seeing them? It demonstrates to the provider that you clearly don't trust them, which is not a sound foundation for a mutually effective patient-provider relationship.

Carolynn said...

I do trust my doctor, or as you said I wouldn't go. But I don't blindly trust them. I am not just doing to do what they say willy nilly and accepting the "one size fits all" shoe. I know my body really well, and I think the risk of me having a seizure since I did have seizures as a child and had a medical reason from my doctor not to get immunizations is more serious then the shot and whatever protection it may offer me. Don't think I'm some person who does not trust vaccines. I just know what they do to my body. We are vaccinating our baby on a delayed schedule. As for the GBS, many countries don't even test for this. I'm not talking about third world ones, I'm talking about first world countries. Also, as stated taking the antibotics doe not mean my baby won't catch group B and it opens them up to a higher risk of catching Mersa at the hospital due to a weakened immune system.

Cody Doll said...

Whoa. I so didn't know about the Gestational Test. No way for me. I don't eat corn or corn syrup cause of my stomach issues. I'd be in trouble if I had to take that.

Carolynn said...

Different doctors and midwives use different things so maybe your doctor will have a different formula! I am sure there will be something else I can do.

Quinault Squatting Bear said...

You can't just refuse every test on a baby without signing a ton of paperwork, and likely a routine call to child services in your area. Legally, there are some tests you can't refuse at all. The heel prick test isn't something that I can refuse legally in my state. Up until recently, I legally couldn't decline the eye goop either.

The monitoring for 48-72 hours after delivery if you haven't been tested or treated for GBS could be mandatory. I was never tested in my first pregnancy for the reasons you listed. I was planning to have a birth center birth, and midwives deal with GBS differently. They just have you do a super load of Vitamin C shortly before when you should deliver. I didn't know until after delivery that by declining the test during pregnancy, and the antibiotics during labor (because if they don't know if you are GBS+ or not, they give you them routinely during labor) that meant a mandatory 48-72 hour delay in releasing our daughter. So I sat in a hospital 2 extra days for no real reason. I honestly would have rather just had the test and gone home 24 hours after delivery.

Like I said; you need to find out what will happen when you refuse something. Often the test is preferable to what you have to deal with if you refuse the test.

Cody Doll said...

Most likely. Hope you'll find something else. And a good thing I won't be going through these any time soon (or ever).

Rachel G said...

Are you 'supposed' to get a tdap shot when you're pregnant these days? I had no idea. I just got that one last year since it had been 10 years since my last one. I've had a lot of vaccines in my life, my body handles them well, and I tend to be pretty pro-vaccine given the scary diseases that occur more often in our part of the world. I don't really know all of the differences between Malaysian and American prenatal care, although I know they are much more fond of ultrasounds here than in the US...and for infant and adults they only ever give one vaccine at a time. I just know I'm going to have Angel around for everything--to research and watch and check and explain everything--several of my sisters have had hospital stays here and there's been mistakes on the part of staff, so I'm glad I have an educated and interested medical-ish person on my side because it's really hard for me to get over my squeamishness *faints at the sight of a hospital*. Trust me, I roll my eyes at myself.