February 15, 2011,
L.W. asks from Hoffman Estates, IL on February 13, 2011
I was wondering what some of you older Moms think about doing fetal testing. I'm 40 years old, pregnant with my second child. (First is almost 4 yrs old). When I was pregnant with the first one I had the ultrasound/blood test combo for downs screening but that's it. Now that I'm older I feel the pressure to have an amnio done. I'm not sure how I feel about it, and I would have to pay for it myself. It's about $1600. The thing is if you find something out would you really terminate a pregnancy at 16-17 weeks? And is there really that much more risk of problems at 40 yrs old?
So I'm looking for some feedback from you Moms as to what you think about the whole thing. Thanks!
M.S. answers from Chicago on February 14, 2011
I had the ultrasound/blood test combo for downs screening, too. That is really all you need, if the results were in the window considered a small risk.
I told my husband, that regardless of the results of that test, I wouldn't have the amino test, because I was keeping my baby no matter what the results.
I didn't want to risk a problem with and invasive test such as the amino test. My babies, first and second, were just fine.
C.G. answers from Chicago on February 14, 2011
If you're not that far along you can do CVS... similar to amnio but done MUCH earlier, between 11-12 weeks. I'm older and had genetic problems with previous pregnancies due to my age (40). I had to know the baby was (as far as we could tell) healthy and felt such uch relief when those results came back ok. Here's a link explaining CVS: http://www.babycenter.com/0_chorionic-villus-sampling-cvs...
C.W. answers from Washington DC on February 14, 2011
I did the nt testing at like 10 weeks combo of blood work and ultrasound then a level 2 at 18 weeks. Everything came up clear and Neither me nor my doctors found a need to do anymore.
I personally would not do an amino.
C.C. answers from Sacramento on February 13, 2011
I guess the question you really have to ask yourself is, if you found out that your baby were to have some kind of major problem, would you want to terminate the pregnancy? If you think you might, then have the test. If you feel strongly that you wouldn't, then there is really no need to have the test.
I guess when it comes down to it though, women had babies for thousands of years before the amnio was available, and the human race survived just fine... so obviously it's more of a "nice to have" test than an absolute necessity.
Congrats on your pregnancy!
3 moms found this helpful
D.K. answers from San Francisco on February 13, 2011
The biggest reason is to mentally prepare if there was a problem with the baby. It gives you time to grieve the loss of the "perfect" baby you think about when you are pregnant before the baby is born. From what I have seen the parents who know before birth have emotionally worked through much of that and are ready to great the baby with joy at birth. If you don't know until birth, then that mental work has to be done after birth. Also if the baby has downs or another genetic problem you can make sure the correct doctors will be involved. You also can make sure you deliver at the correct hospital. It's hard when the baby has to be transferred to another hospital for care leaving the mother behind until she is discharged. The statistics are hard to know what to do with. One doctor I know says it doesn't matter what the statistics are, if it's you or your child it's 100%. As far as aborting at 16-18 weeks, I think no one ever really knows until they find themselves in that situation. There are some conditions that are fatal. I would not have continued a pregnancy in that case. For Downs I don't know. Luckily I never had to make that decision. For me the decision would not have been about me, but about the kids I already have. My mother has a younger brother with Downs. My Grandmother was 44 when he was born. He is now 61 and my grandparents have been dead for over 20 years. The responsibility passed to my mother. My mother is 81. If she dies before him, the responsibility will be passed to my sister and myself. So for me the decision would be about the kids I already have and their future children.
Yes there are more risks the older you are. If you are healthy there are less risks, but its still more than if you are in your 20s or 30s. It's just a fact of life. Good luck to you!
2 moms found this helpful
K.G. answers from Minneapolis on February 14, 2011
I would not do the testing. I have three children and a genetic kidney disease. When I was pregnant with my second, the ultrasound showed some major damage to my son's brain. When he was born, he was totally fine. The ultrasound had been wrong. We were strongly encouraged to terminate, but I could not do it. I take that back... I WOULD NOT do it.
This morning, the son that was supposed to be severely brain damaged "read" a story to his four-month-old sister. He is two. Life is good.
I have come to rely less and less on that testing as I get older. If it shows something, I cannot change my heart. I will continue to love that child until its natural death, or until I stop breathing. If we become pregnant with another, I will get only the minimal amount of tests done. I will not even do the blood test because of my experience with my son.
2 moms found this helpful
J.S. answers from Chicago on February 14, 2011
I'm a young mom, so I didn't have the age factor to worry about. But I didn't do any screenings because I knew I wouldn't terminate. I'm pro-choice, but in my case I wanted a child and I felt that I would take whatever was given to me. You could have a perfectly healthy baby and a year later get into a car accident and end up with a child who has severe brain damage. Or your child could have severe autism, which they can't pick up in a prenatal screening. In either of those cases you wouldn't stop loving or caring for the child. I felt the same applied to my unborn child. Just sharing my personal thought process, it's not really an opinion of what you should do. That's only for you to decide. Good luck mama!
2 moms found this helpful
L.B. answers from Chicago on February 14, 2011
I am 42. Will be 43 in March actually. Just had my 2nd child 3 weeks ago. A beautiful healthy girl. With the 1st baby I did the blood work testing & I was 39yrs. old. My husband & I decided to the the same route with this one also. We declined the amino testing. We both felt that whatever the results we would not terminate. Also, the amino test could harm the baby. If you are satisfied with the blood test don't let fear set in. We prayed over the baby while it was in the womb. The test are not 100% anyway. Just pray about it. Congrats to you:-)
2 moms found this helpful
J.K. answers from Phoenix on February 13, 2011
I wouldn't do it. It's a risky procedure and expensive. It is what it is. A life, precious no matter what. My doctor said the risk for having the problem is low and I was 39. I didn't have the test nor did I do the ultrasound/blood test combo either. They tried to do it but munchkin wouldn't cooperate and I wouldn't allow a retest. He is fine and healthy. Good luck and congratulations!
1 mom found this helpful
C.C. answers from Chicago on February 14, 2011
I had my first at 37 and my second 13 weeks ago at age 41 (concieved) - am now 42. Both children I just did that triple screen (?) where they do blood work and then I had the more advanace US at 20 weeks. All my numbers and US looked good so I didnt have to do anything further. My son is a healthy baby boy. I would just hold out until you get the numbers back and then decide if an amnio is necessary. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!!
D.K. answers from Pittsburgh on February 14, 2011
I have my first and only at 40. I had the amniocentesis and absolutely would have terminated the pregnancy. No matter what people on this board say, the statistics are that well over 90% of trisomy 21 pregnancies are terminated. And even if the risk of miscarriage were the same as the risk of Downs, the outcomes are not equivalent. If you miscarry (rare), you will still have a healthy 4 year old, family and a uterus that is only 4 months older than the last time you tried. If you have a Down's baby - you will have a (generally happy) child with a substantial risk of heart defects, gastrointestinal complications, good chance of needing lifelong care and a reasonable chance of outliving you (will your 4 year old need to assume that care and what impact will that have on his chances for his own family down the road). While you may chose to carry the pregnancy to term, there are definitely things to consider.