To Amnio or Not to Amnio

Updated on December 17, 2007
H.R. asks from Oakland, CA
72 answers

I am looking for feedback on amniocentesis! I am pregnant and about to turn 35 and suddenly I am catapulted into a "higher risk" category. I am not particularly worried about this pregnancy, but wonder how other moms have handled the decision on amniocentesis/risk of down's syndrome, etc.
Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Well, thanks everyone for your feedback! I went ahead and did the amnio, as my first trimester screen came back high risk with a score I wasn't very comfortable with. The doctor was amazing, even led me thru a meditation during the procedure (the longest 20 seconds of my life). We will have the results in a couple weeks! Who knows what the outcome, and ultimately what if any decision we will have to make on the matter. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Again, thanks mamas for your words.

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W.H.

answers from Stockton on

Hi! H.:
I had my son at 38 and my daughter at 39. The doctor I had with my son did not suggest an amnio because was FIP test was negative. However, the doctor I had with my daughter suggested an amnio due to my age (which I think is a crock) but my husband and I opted to have the amnio. I felt it to be quite safe and had no complications from it.
Both of my children are perfectly healthy with no problems whatsover.
Make the decision that you feel is best for you! Good luck!!

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C.F.

answers from Sacramento on

The main thing that you should use to decide is to think is you find out there is a defect will you terminate the pregnancy. If the answer is no, then you have no real reason to do amnio.

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N.N.

answers from San Francisco on

I'm 34 but I did amnio for my two pregnancis. I did it at Lucile Packard Hospitals both times and had no prblem at all.

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N.M.

answers from Chico on

Hi H.,

I had my first baby at 38, second at 39, and will try to squeeze out a third and final (no pun intended)at 40, so I've been there.

I have not had an amnio. My thinking was the following. First, there is a small risk to the baby when you have the amnio (you can look up the details on that, but I think it's like 1 in 350).

Second, I would not terminate my pregnancy based on the results.

Third, I'm the kind of person that if I received a result indicating Downs (or some other possibility of birth defect), I would be so worried during my pregnancy -- it would affect my health, which certainly wouldn't help. I'd rather just cross the bridge when I get to it.

However, I know some people who would be worried sick without an amnio -- and for those, I could see choosing to do one to put your mind at ease. Some people would prefer to know the news of a probable birth defect ahead of time to be able to research and address the issue -- I appplaud those people, but I am not one of them.

Very personal decision. Statistics say things will be fine for you and your baby either way!

N.

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M.B.

answers from Sacramento on

I am only 28 but with my first pregnancy I recieved a positive AFP screen for downs. I had a 1 in 35 chance of my son having down syndrome. I chose not to do the amnio. My biggest reason for not was that the result would not effect my decision on whether or not to carry the baby to term. The risk did not seem necessary since it I would not have done the pregnancy any different. Ask yourself...would it matter?

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C.J.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi H., I was in the same boat with my first child and found it to be a very difficult decision, mostly because it took us 2 yrs to get pregnant and we had suffered a miscarriage as well. Ultimately I did the test and was glad that I did. Peace of mind means everything! Keep in mind that the test gives you more info than just if your baby might have downs. The final decision of to do or not to do really depends on what are you going to do with the information you get back. If all is good then you're happy you did it! If all is not good are you happy you know so you are prepared for the issues? Or, prepared to make a tough decision about keeping the pregnancy? It's a very personal choice. In my opinion, having all the info available is always a better option.... and, if you are not worried about the pregnancy I say go for it. The procedure itself is no big deal and over in seconds...and a great reason to stay in bed for a couple of days and pick out baby names.

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N.S.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi, This was a tough decision for myself and my husband as well. I had my first child at 37 years old. When I was younger I heard about the amnio and I knew I never wanted a needle in my stomach. Then my friend told me how it went for her let's just say she didn't like the procedure. It came down to that my husband and I were going to have the child no matter what. I am not sure if the amnio would have told me that by the time I had my son I would have HELLP syndrome -- platelets drop and kidney's start to fail. Thankfully my son was very healthy at 4 lbs and a month early, and I made it through by the grace of God and some great Doctors and Nurses. The genetic counselor was very informative she was never negative she said it was our decision. My second child I had at 40 and I told my husband that I would have the amnio I just wanted to make sure the baby was healthy and also to know what we were going to have. Well at the time I was working for a doctor and I told him I was going to have the amnio. He asked why? I told him and he said think about it what would you do with the information if you got the news the baby had downs? If you know the answer to that why even have the amnio. He went on to say his God son has downs and he is the most loving person you'll ever meet all he knows is love. I decided not to have the amnio and my daughter was a little butter ball 8 1/2 lbs with a spit-fire attitude healthy. I believe a lot of it was just the thought of the needle in my stomach doesn't sit well. Also our baby is our baby and God gives us what he feels we need and if our baby would have had downs we would have just given lots of love right back. I know it's a tough decision, but if you want to know how your baby is doing then you do what you feel is right for you. I wish you the best and ask as many questions to the genetic counselor and doctors. Take Care!

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L.N.

answers from San Francisco on

I say no way! Why put the baby at risk if you are planning on keeping the baby no matter what? Why put yourself through all that stress of not knowing? Better, in my mind, to keep a positive attitude and know that your baby will be fine, whether you are 25 or 34 or 35...
Make it a great day and enjoy this time of your life! It is truely a miricle.
L.

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T.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

I had amnio with both my children. I was also placed in a high risk category, although I/we had no health issues to speak of.

After weighing the risks, my husband and I decided that at least with the amnio, if we found out that there were any health issues, we could address them (if possible) in utero.

It's not an easy decision, and there are other options out there. I was 39 and wanted to be sure I was giving my children every advantage. I dont know what other options are available these days. For us, that was the best option at that time. Best of luck to you in your pregnancy!

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K.A.

answers from San Francisco on

Hello! I just went through the whole amnio thing about 4 weeks ago even though it seems just like yesterday, even though I'm very young I was put at a high risk for down syndrome and I went to get the amnio and I backed out only because either way if the baby had downes I wasn't going to terminate the pregnancy... also you can also ask for a stage 2 ultrasound and you can look for the physical abnormalities of the baby that comes with most defects that the amnio can detect. Although its not 100 percent its still better than risking doing an amnio..... it all depends on what your thinking if the baby does will it change your mind abou the pregnancy...? I ended up doing the stage 2 ultrasound and they saw no physical abnormalities and it made me feel so much better, I still have the risk but most of these tests they do to detect it are 80 percent false positives! So do what you gut tells you to do!

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T.E.

answers from San Francisco on

I denied my amino due to the way i feel about it can harm the pregancy and also i feel if god is going to give me a downs baby so be it why worry through the nine months thats just my feelings

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T.M.

answers from Yuba City on

Hi H.! I was in your shoes not too long ago. I was 37 and pregnant with my 6th child. We knew we were having our 5th daughter. =) Because of the reasons you expressed above, it was recommended that I have an amnio too. My husband and I went in for a consult with the doctor who would perform the procedure. After our meeting my husband and I decided NOT to go through with the procedure. This is why. First, we were comfortable with taking the other noninvasive tests (AFP, etc.). Second, we were concerned that there is a slight risk the procedure could cause me to miscarry. Third, we agreed that whatever the results would be from any tests, we would accept the situation and make any necessary decisions then. We would love our daughter no matter what. We felt the staff was pretty pushy about going forward with the procedure, however, we felt comfortable with our decision not do it. In December 2005 I delivered a healthy baby. I do know women who have had amnios and had no problems. For me, I just didn't want to take that chance, even though it was small, of a miscarriage.

Good luck H.!!

T.

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J.H.

answers from San Diego on

Hi H.,

I'm 35 and am 6 months pregnant with our second boy. The way I look at is two fold. First, the risk of the baby having Down's Syndrom is about equal to the risk involved in the Amnio procedure (which is freaky anyway). Secondly, even if we had a child with Down's Syndrome we would accept it after it's birth as easily as we would accept knowing before he's born...essentially it wouldn't change the course of the pregnancy for us. So we didn't do the test and don't worry about it. I personally think there are many other more important things than the long list of doctor's and hospital "precautionary procedure" for women our age (which I think is totally silly). Women have been having babies for a really long time and it seems to work w/or w/out all these tests. :) Good luck.

J.
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D.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

i was pregnant with my first child at 31 and a blood test showed positive for downs syndrome. I had to deceide whether or not to have anmnio. i did. the test was wrong. I tested false positive on my second also and had amnio and she is fine. My third child I was going to be 35 and i had amnio. she is fine and on my 4th again fine. Amnio is a very personal choice. I guess you have to ask yourself would you do anything if you find out that your baby has a problem. Next I guess you have to ask yourself can you take the chance of not knowing if something is wrong in utero that can be fixed before delivery. I personally would want to know so that i could at least be prepared. There are so many things that amnio reveals about the baby and some things can be treated before the baby is born. good luck with your decision.

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I.D.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

I had my first baby last year and I turned 35 3 months before she was born. I did all the blood tests and the extra ultrasound they reccomend for your "risky" age and because the all turned out good, I did not do the amnio. I basically left it as the last chance because of the tests and my family history is all good. It's really a judjment call and kind of a gut feeling, as usual for moms. And you will learn that your gut feeling, no matter what people tell you, is what is right.
Hope this helps.
P.S. My baby is healty and no defects.

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S.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi H.,

I gave healthy baby birth last year at the age of 37.

I took amniocentesis test because my blood test showed some sign. I was very scared what if the amnio test determined bad result.
Lucky I was fine. My OB doctor said to me that if you want to keep baby no matter what, you do not need to take test.

On the other hand, my colleague took amniocentesis tests each time (3 children) to be sure even though everything is ok.

If you are worried about the risk, you can take test to get over with.

If I did not get alarming sing from blood test, I would not take any test. I did not want to put needle unnecessarily.

I hope that you have a peaceful pregnancy.

Michelle

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M.T.

answers from Stockton on

Hi H.~
The same thing happened to me. I turned 35, four months before I gave birth to my daughter so I was considered "high risk" also! I chose to NOT have the amnio. My thought was...no test result would make me terminate the pregnancy anyway so why risk the baby's life by having the amniocentesis. -I just left everything in God's hands.
Hope this helps,
~M.

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L.A.

answers from San Francisco on

I was in the same situation-I turn 35 while pregnant and so was placed in a high-risk category. It turns out that both of my pregnancies ended up being high-risk for other reasons: preeclampsia and hypertension. I did go ahead with the amniocentesis with both pregnancies. For me, the peace of mind of going through pregnancy without at least that to worry about was worth it. I'm not a doctor, I don't even remember what the risk factor was but it seemed small. They did have a friend who did not have amniocentesis because of financial considerations, and was in a state of panic for the last month because she was sure she'd made a mistake. That is of course irrational thinking, but let's face it, nobody's thinking straight in the last month of pregnancy! Part of the decision for you probably is knowing what you would do with the information if you do find out that your baby has Down's or some other abnormality. Would you have it anyway? Or would you terminate your pregnancy? There is no right answer here-it's a very difficult question that you and your husband must consider together. But parenting is filled with difficult questions-this is only the first one. By the way, although we found out that our babies were fine through amnio, we requested NOT to be told the gender. It made it more interesting to wait!

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A.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

When we were presented with the same situation, we (my husband and I) thought about the big picture. What I mean is, no matter what the outcome, we weren't planning on ending the pregnancy. Since I wasn't too worried about the pregnancy, just as you, I didn't feel it necessary to put myself or the baby through an unnecessary test. I did, however, have the simple blood draw to see what my risk was of having a problem. My risk was 1 in 3800 so I really didn't need to have the amnio then. If my risk was higher, I might have thought about it, just to get informed and prepared for a child with down's. Hope this helps!!!

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M.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Dear H.,

I would listen to yourself-. I too had the option of amniocentesis but I didn't want to put my baby at risk. I didn't do the procedure. What I was told to ask myself is would I terminate if something did come back wrong? The answer was definetly NO!! So do what you feel is right for you. Sometimes doctors can be too clinical with age,risk factors etc. Good Luck!

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K.O.

answers from Los Angeles on

I would recommend you not get the amnio. I had both of my children after 35 and was also put in the high risk category. It was presented that finding out would give me "choices", ie. if the baby had some sort of disease, we could abort. For my husband and I that would not ever be an option we would pick. So, even though my doctor and the nurses could not believe I turned it down, I did (they even make you sign something if you turn it down!). I read (from their own literature) that many of the tests come back with false positives and then you take another test that confirms, yes everything is OK and the first test had a false positive. There are so many new things/experiences with pregnancy that I did not want the stress of a false positive and more tests.
So, the route I took was this: I asked my doctor if the NICU team at the hospital was top notch, which they were, and that was good enough for me. I just wanted to know that if my baby needed special care for whatever reason that qualified physicians would be there to help. And, both babies were born healthy and strong and wonderful.
So, that is my story and my recommendation! Enjoy your pregnancy without extra worries!

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C.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hello.
I skipped the amnio. The technician who was doing my ultrasound told me that most babies who have down syndrome also have a heart defect. Since my babys heart was normal I skipped it. Becides, even if he had downs I was gonna keep him anyways.
Good luck!
C..

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B.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

I did an amnio with both my kids at age 33 and 37. It was covered with my insurance. With my fist I got a high AFP reading so that is why I did it...the second for obvious reasons. Honestly, I just wanted to know so that I could mentally prepare if there were any issues. There are, of course, risks involved with the procedure and I have to say that large needle is a bit scary. It is not painful and the doctor that performed both of mine had been doing them for 30 years. I have 2 friends with Down Syndrome children both were in early 30's and had no idea so they really were not prepared. Hope this helps.

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S.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

I had one and it was not at all painful, it sounds much worse than it is. The bottom line to consider is what you would do with the results. If you would consider an abortion if the baby had some type of abnormality, then do the amnio. If you would keep the baby regardless of the results, then you could still have the amnio to mentally prepare for it, or opt out of it and just accept whatever comes your way. The amnio will also give you 99.9% accurate results of the sex of your baby, if you want to know ahead of time. I did and had a boy. I think it's worth it. Just make sure you rest afterward like they tell you to.

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C.N.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

Dear H.,

Well, if there is a risk to the baby, then no amnio. Down's Syndrome is not the regular life you would have with a baby, but it is a very soul satisfying experience for people who have Down's Syndrome babies. Just do some reading - I have been in a large situation with most of the 100 or so people in the room were Down's Syndrome - they are just so kind and polite and loving. Of course they have problems, but so do we all. They have no 'agenda' - like most of us do. So that is all I have to say. C. N.

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A.H.

answers from Modesto on

As a 36 year old mom to be, I agonized over this decision as well. I asked myself this question and it helped me greatly.

"what will you do if there is 'something wrong' and it's identified through the testing?"

Many people say they would have time to adjust and prepare themselves. I knew I would just worry and worry and oh yeah, worry.

I knew anything could happen. I knew I was higher risk. I knew I would love the baby regardless. I also knew that most problems identified with these tests would be ones that would not change how I nurtured or cared for the baby during the first 6 months or so and that while I "adjusted" or "prepared" or "got used to it" I would be building bonds with the kiddo.

You're only 35. I say think about what knowing would do for you and how it would affect your pregnancy and first few months post partum.

Best of luck.

Ps. for the record, my 6 month old son was born just fine

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T.B.

answers from Fresno on

I was also pregnant when i was 34 & turned 35 before she was born. My question to the doctor was...

If you find something wrong...can you fix it?
Answer was no.

I was already past my first trimester so there was no discusion about termination even if that was a choice to me.

I had already done an ultrasound and it looked fine. My bloodwork was fine.

I decided since they can't fix it then I didn't want to know anything until she was born. There was no way I could deal with being pregnant knowing there was something wrong with my little girl.

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S.K.

answers from San Diego on

I was 26 when I was pregnant with my son and I had an amnio because they noticed some "signs" that my baby could have Down's. I'm glad I had the amnio that way I'd be better prepared for my special boy. Just pay close attention to your ultrasounds, check the measurements of the baby to make sure they consistent with gestational age. You don't always have to have an amnio but it gave my husband and I a head start on learning about our sons condition.

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T.H.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi H.

I was 39 when I had my twins and they recommend an amniocentesis for me too. However after I completed a genetic class the chances of any abnormities were so low that I had a higher risk of having problems due to the amniocentesis. I would recommend that you see a genetics counselor before making your final decision. Congratulations on your pregnancy.

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J.L.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi H., This is a pretty contraversial topic, so be prepared to get all angles on this. I've been through Amnio 2 times, once at 34 and 36 and everything went just fine. In my opinion if you do Amnio, you should be prepared to take action if you get news that the test results are positive for downs etc. Otherwise, don't go through the risk with this test.
Good luck.. with your positive attitude I'm sure everything will be just fine!

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T.L.

answers from San Francisco on

Its actually not true that you are higher risk over 35, I just finished my doula training with some really amazing midwifes and they really believe that that is a bunch of ###. Please call a midwife and talk to her I can give you mine if you like. OR read up on it in a good book NOT what to expect when your expecting.. throw that in the garbage. BE strong

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A.G.

answers from San Francisco on

I had an amnio and found this to be very helpful in allaying my fears about genetic issues. For me, I went in fully committed to the process. When I researched it, I found that the risks of the procedure itself are very minimal. I felt no pain, just a bit of discomfort for having a full bladder. On the positive side, you get a very lengthy ultrasound experience, which I totally enjoyed. The waiting for results was stressful. In the end, it was worth it and felt great to get the call with the "no genetic issues" results.

What ever you decide will be the correct option for you. It is sort of a bummer that 35 seems like such an arbitrary number. But the reality is that genetic complications begin to be a statistical concern at this age. I found it helpful to read about the procedure and weigh out the pros and cons for myself. Best of luck in whatever you do!

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A.E.

answers from Sacramento on

I turned 35 during my last pregnancy and everything immediately changed in the eyes of my OB. The question that the specialist asked my husband and I is "if you find out that this child has downs, will that affect what you do with the pregnancy?" my answer to the question was no, plus I had previously had a miscarriage and was not willing to take a chance (even though it is minimal) of it happening again - so I opted against it. Our daughter was born perfectly healthy and we had plenty of ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy where they could see the back of the neck and were able to confidently say that they didn't think that Downs was visible. Go with your instincts and have a frank conversation with your OB. Good luck to you and yours!

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B.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

I will be 34 by my baby's due date in the spring. I am not in any risk catagories and my quad-screen was negative. I just had an amnio this week because our ultrasound showed something minor but maybe significant. I was nervous about the risks, but I did not hesitate to request an amnio because I do not want to be surprised when the baby is delivered.

ETA: I wouldn't do it if your ultrasound and AFP/quad come back normal AND you will be having the baby whether it has defects or not. This is not the case with us and we need to know. I have mild anxiety about the results, but I'm not freaking out. The amnio itself was uncomfortable, but the recovery was textbook for me.

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P.V.

answers from Los Angeles on

I was 36 when I had my last baby (almost 4 yrs ago). I decided that it wouldnt matter to me what the test results were. When I told this to my doctor we decided together to not even go down the path of amnio. If I remember correctly, there is another blood test that they do before the amnio and I didn't have that done either.

I wish you the best of luck!

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T.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

I had my 2nd baby at age 35. I said NO to the amnio. I did not want to risk hurting my baby. I wasn't going to terminate if it came back positive for anything. If you are going to, then have the amnio. I remember reading about Cindy Crawford and how she had amnio's with each of her children (before age 35) because she knew she would terminate if something came back wrong. I had a hospital birth first time and homebirth with a midwife the 2nd time. I also said NO to ultrasounds with my 2nd baby. (18 years ago, ultrasounds were not common. Not every woman got one.) I did not want to risk damage to my baby's growing body.
http://www.mothering.com/articles/pregnancy_birth/birth_p...
I did allow minimal dopler use during the birth though.

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S.B.

answers from Bakersfield on

Hi H.,

I turned 35 midway through my pregnancy so was also considered of 'advanced maternal age' - isn't that a term that's going to make you feel good about yourself! My husband and I spent a lot of time trying to decide whether to go for the amnio, but in the end (and also on the advice of our dr) decided to wait and have the AFP test first and then take it from there. Thankfully the AFP results indicated no cause for concern so we didn't have to then make the decision. Our dr's advice was that as everything was going well with the pregnancy, and we had no history of genetic illnesses in our family we would be as well to wait until after the AFP to consider an invasive procedure. According to my dr taking the age 35 is kind of an arbitrary cut-off point for whether you are higher risk or not!

Hope this helps, it's a tough decision to make but try not to worry.

All the best,
Sam

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi,

I'm sort of in the same boat. I'm currently 35 and we have decided to go ahead with the amnio. We have the nuchal transclucency (NT) ultrasound this week and my OB explained that the results of the NT will further determine whether we should go ahead with the amnio. From what I have read, and have discussed with other moms and medical professionals regarding the amnio decision, is that if you know that you will continue with the pregnancy, regardless of the what the amnio results are (normal or abnormal) then maybe not have the amnio. However if you and your partner have discussed that if the results are abnormal and you decide to not continue with the pregnancy, then this is good information for you to both have and you may want to go ahead with the amnio. From moms that I have spoken with, who have had the amnio for a variety of reasons (not just age-related), all have spoken positively of the experience and the information that the test provided. Hope that this feedback is helpful.

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C.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

Personally, I wouldn't do it. I'm 36 and planning to get pregnant again sometime next year. You have to ask yourself what you would do with the information. If down syndrome or a genetic abnormality was found, would you consider terminating the pregnancy? If not, what's the point? Although small, the amniocentesis does carry the risk of miscarriage. To me it's not worth even a small risk.

I think these tests create needless worry for parents. We aren't pregnant that often, try to enjoy the miracle that is being created inside you and don't let the medical team scare you or label you. IMO, 35 is not "high risk".

Hope that helps!

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W.W.

answers from Sacramento on

I wouldn't unless there is a medical reason. You age shouldn't count! Also, consider the end result. If your baby has an abnormal result are you going to terminate? They have other prenatal tests they can do. Good luck with your decision.

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L.G.

answers from San Francisco on

I'm a mom and a physician and did amnio with both my pregnancies, the first because my triple screen was abnormal (my son turned out fine).
First, completely agree with thinking through the major issue: would the result change the outcome of your pregnancy.
Second, there are standard statistics quoted in medical textbooks and online (eg. WebMD) regarding the risk of the procedure. However the risk actually varies greatly depending on where and by whom the procedure is done. So, should you decide to go ahead with the amnio, you want to do it at a large center with a perinatology /high-risk Ob dept and get an MD who has done hundreds. I actually asked the perinatologist who did mine what the complication rate was AT STANFORD (which was where I went) and how many he had personally done. That reassured me a lot. The procedure itself is no big deal and I found it less painful than a vaccination. Best of luck with your decision.

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G.S.

answers from Redding on

H.,

What would you do if you found out the child you are carrying had down's syndrome? What are your options? Is your age the only reason you are in a "higher risk" category? If you have other children, and they are healthy, then why worry.

My children are 7 years apart, and both completely healthy. I was 26 when I had my younger child, and my mother-in-law suggested the test, but I decided against it. I didn't want to add stress and worry to my pregnancy, possibly causing difficulties.

Talk to your doctor, asking if your age is the only risk factor. Consider your life if you had a child that was born with down's syndrome, or another issue. What information would the test give you, and how would it help you?

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M.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

Unless you plan to terminate the pregnancy because of the results, I don't know why you would want to risk the miscarriage.

As a mom of a AMAZING little girl with trisomy 21 (AKA Down Syndrome) I am appalled at the 90% abortion rate of these kids. I had her when I was 2 months shy of my 28th birthday. My FTP (or whatever it is) was a false negative. we had no idea until she was born. By having her my risk for a 2nd child to be blessed with an extra chromosome jumped from 1 in a 1000 (ish) to 1 in 100.

I have had 3 more normally chomosomed children since, no blood work or amnios for any of them, just carefully looked at U/S.

So unless you will abort, there are very few things that can be fixed in utero. If you are the type that needs to know to prepare mentally, ask if you can get a higher level u/s specifically to look for abnormalities. Once upon a time the miscarriage rate was 1:200 with amnio- not sure if that is still the case, but for me it was not a risk worth taking.

JMHO

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B.G.

answers from San Francisco on

I had an amnio twice, once with each child. The first time I was 34 when got pregnant, 35 when I gave birth. Second time I was 37 when i gave birth. The reason we decided to do the amnio was for two reasons: One, we didn't want to be "surprised" when the child was born. If there was going to be any sort of defect we wanted to know ahead of time to prepare ourselves. Two, we are not in the top 5% of the worlds richest people so if our child was going to have disabilities, we needed time to research what would happen to us financially to support the child. We can't afford for one of us to not work to care for a disabled child so we would need to plan.
Both times they found an area that the baby wasn't anywhere near and took the fluid from that area. The first time wasn't painful at all, but the second did seem more uncomfortable. Regardless, both times I went home and stayed on the couch for 24 hours and then took it easy for the next several days. No complications, two VERY healthy children. One at 10 lbs 5 oz, the other at 11 lbs 4 oz!

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A.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

When i was carrying with my daughter i was 35, when i did my first ultrasound they had found some abnormality on one of her kidneys. The genetic team highly recommended the amnio, my doctor didnt agree, even if there was somthing wrong with the baby i wasnt going to terminate anyways, so why do it. If you dont plan on terminating no matter what the outcome is then dont do it, its not necessary.
Good Luck, A.!

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J.N.

answers from San Francisco on

I agree with the previous post from Tara. Ask yourselves what you will do with the information from the amnio: Will you terminate the pregnancy? Do you need the information to better prepare yourselves psychologically or to find out about support possibilities? Will you do nothing? Also, try and make sure that you and your partner agree on that... my husband and I weren't exactly on the same page.
If you choose to do nothing, then I wouldn't have the amnio. I chose to have it (I was 35, pregnant with my first). Fortunately all the results were good, and the rest of my pregnancy was much more relaxed.
Wish you the best!

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J.D.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi H.,

Congratulations on your pregnancy.

I think this is a very individual choice. Consider what you will do with the information you receive from the amnio. How helpful would this info be to you? If there is a problem identified would you consider terminating the pregnancy? If not, would the info help you prepare or just create more stress? An excellent resource you can check out is the Guide To Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth. It can be found at: http://www.childbirthconnection.org/

Best Wishes,

J., Mom of 3, and childbirth educator and nurse

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T.V.

answers from Stockton on

I had to keep in mind that it is just another 1 of those things they put us through.What about back in the days before they did all this research, us women were fine. Now they stress us out with all their research.Stress is a big factor on pregnancy why do they tell us these things to stress us out?I had my 7th child at 39 his dad was 5yrs older than me. I was told the same stuff and oh my my 7 pregnancy...I had fun couldn't let these doctors bring me down.Just eat healthy,exercise. I liked to walk and it also helped me clear my mind.Just remember it is a risk just like any thing else.You take a risk on walking out your door everyday.Will you come back in those doors at the end of the day. BUT this risk is you having a healthy child who for all their years to come will bring sunshine to your life no matter what.Keep that in mind.I wish you happyness and i hope i somehow helped you.T. V.

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L.M.

answers from San Francisco on

We talked about it. We concluded since we wouldn't do anything about any "abnormal" results, why do it. It's not a risk free procedure, results aren't 100%, and we wouldn't have terminated if things were perfect, so why take a chance it might go wrong?

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R.D.

answers from San Francisco on

I was 36 when I got pregnant. I chose to do this non-invasive test where they measure the nuchal folds in the fetus's neck, take a sample of my blood and reassess my risk factor. The test is 80% accurate in detecting downs and 96-99% effective in detecting the Trisomy disorder. My risk factor came back to that of a 20 year old. I figured that with 80% odds I could live with the 20% risk and if I had been 20 I would never have considered an amnio. The test was considered experimental 3 years ago, even though they have done the test in Europe and Australia for a number of years. It cost about $300, but I wasn't too keen on doing an amnio so it was worth it. On another note Norway and many other European countries don't do standard amnios on AMA's until they reach 40. Good luck.

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A.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

I was 41 when I found out I was pregnant for the first time and agonized about an amnio also. Because of my age, being diabetic and very overweight, I too was thrust into the "high risk" pregnancy category. It was strongly advised that I have the amnio because of my age and some medical issues in my background. My husband and I thought about it for a few weeks and decided to go ahead with it for this reason-at our ages, we didn't want any suprises. If something was detected, we wanted the remaining time to prepare for whatever it may have been. I did, however, opt NOT to know whether I was having a boy or girl.

For me, having the amnio was to ease my mind. I'm glad I did and would probably do so again.

Hope this helps!

A.

By the way- we have a gorgeous, healthy, happy 2-year-old daughter who is my sole pride and joy right now!! :)

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

I have had 2 amino's with each of my 2 pregnancies. I was glad I did it. Mine was also because I was 35 at the time etc. I decided to do it, because I wanted to know about the status of my pregnancy and baby. My husband and I both made the decision. But my husband said it was my choice ultimately since I was the one carrying the baby. Personally speaking, the procedure itself is not that bad... it is over in a wink of an eye. After that, you will have to wait for the results. This waiting period is what is most nerve racking. However, once it was done, I was VERY glad I went through with it. Ultimately, I did it because I wanted to know of any genetic conditions of the baby I was carrying. That way, if there were a situation, then we could be proactive and prepared to handle it ahead of time and get the best medical help available. Down's or not, was not the issue for me. It was just wanting to know the health and development of my baby. That way I could feel more relaxed about it and not have to worry for the duration of my pregnancy. The amnio is the most conclusive test. I am glad I did it, even to this day. Both my babies were fine, healthy and normal. If I had to do it again, I would without a doubt. Good luck. You will get lots of responses here. And yes, make sure you go to a VERY experienced doctor/specialist for the amnio.
~Susan
www.cafepress.com/littlegoogoo

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C.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I was 35 when I had my last child. I did not have the amnio. I was not high risk (only 35!), and I did not want to have one more procedure. The results of the amnio would not have altered our plans for the pregnancy or birth any way. Good luck!

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L.B.

answers from San Francisco on

I turned 35 while I was pregnant with twins, and I got amnio. My husband and I looked at all the statistics about amnio and miscarriage, and we decided it was worth it to get the amnio. You see, there are two things that artificially inflate the appearance of risk. One is that the statistics have no way of knowing if amnio caused miscarriage, only if a woman had amnio and a miscarriage. This means that if a woman has amnio, then miscarries three months later, it goes into the statistics, even though it's extremely unlikely that the two are related. The other thing is that amnio has usually been performed only for high-risk pregnancies anyway, so of course the rate is a bit higher. So amnio's not really all that scary.

I wasn't concerned about Downs too much either, but there are a lot of things they can check for with amnio. I wanted to be prepared.

If you decide to get amnio, you want to go to a very experienced practitioner who does a lot of them. I went to the perinatologist my OB recommended. I watched some of it on the monitor. The kids could tell when the needle entered the sac--they swam away from it!

I rested for the remainder of the day and took it easy for the next few days, per the doc's instructions. Amnio is a very weird feeling, but I was fine. And it felt really good when the genetic counselor called to tell me how low the kids' risks of various diseases were. The kids are doing great now. Hope yours does, too!

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J.P.

answers from Sacramento on

I say definately YES, do it. I was 36 years old and i did. It barely hurt at all and I was even able to go to work the next day. I knew it would ease my mind. That was not something I wanted to worry about thru my entire pregnancy. good luck in any case!!!!!

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C.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

I was 40 when I got pg for the first time. I did not take any of the defect tests. The AFP was pretty much a given to come up positive, because they take age into consideration. Still it's not definitive, so then we'd have to decide on an amnio. There is a tiny chance for m/c with an amnio and I didn't want to take that risk. I wanted my first (and probably only) pg to be stress-free from worrying about what might be wrong. I always did have that nagging thought in the back of my mind that she could have some sort of defect and that is why we decided to deliver at a hospital with a children's hospital next door. For us, it came down to this...would we abort if the amnio came up positive and the answer was no. I'm kinda new-agey, spirtual about the whole thing. And I believe miracles happen all the time. We were willing to take that chance on "not knowing". We didn't find out her sex, either. BTW, she turned out to be happy and perfectly healthy. :)

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R.L.

answers from San Francisco on

I was in the same situation 5 years ago. For me personally it was never really a matter of getting the amnio or not. It was the decision to want to know if my baby was sick or not. Although my husband was very afraid of the chance of miscarriage, I needed to know. The genetic counselor put it best for my husband, she said that I had more of a risk of having a child with down syndrome than I did of suffering a miscarriage. I felt that in the end regardless of our decision we would at least have the oppurtunity to be prepared.
I know it's difficult, Good Luck with your decision.

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N.P.

answers from Fresno on

Hi H.,
My personal opinion is the risks associated with amnio should be carefully balanced against the benefits, especially when advised due only to your age (35?).
I would be quite diligent about researching pros and cons before undergoing such an invasive procedure.
my opinion
N.

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D.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

HI, I just turned 39 in June. I have 3 and a half year old twins. I also needed an amnio and was scared not only was I high risk but there was a chance of doing damage to the twins. I went for it, it didn't hurt and the results so outweighed the negative. Trust your heart. I was happy with doing it. D.

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J.G.

answers from San Francisco on

I had the same situation. My baby was determined to have a one in 30 chance of down's syndrome(I was 36 yrs old). I did not do amnio, my baby is FINE! I have a friend who had the same situation, she did the amnio, the amnio gave her an infection and they had to deliver the baby really early, the baby (now 3yrs old) has severe developmental issues. Turns out he did not have down's....... of course this is all andecdotal but I remember realizing that the chance of infection from amnio was higher than the chance of down's in the average pregnancy. 'They' also told me I had a girl (but I knew he was a boy). They said he had marconium in the plascenta. he didn't. I say trust your instincts! If the baby feels safe and healthy in there. I say " leave him/her be".

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A.T.

answers from Stockton on

Welcome to the Geriatric Perinatal Club!
did you know there's a medical term for us slackers who don't start a family until our mid-thirties?
I didn't get the amnio - there is a risk it can cause miscarriage & I am completely terrified of needles. However, I made the decision with my OBGYN & husband. We carefully reviewed our family medical history - no cases of Down Syndrome, etc. I had a ton of blood tests - was in great shape when we got pregnant.
My friends have had the test & found it to be surprisingly painless - the anticipation and waiting for results were the worst part.

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K.L.

answers from Fresno on

I would say don't do it. It is more likely that your baby will not have downs and the test is not 100% safe. There are risks involved, not to mention it is a bit painful. Secondly, would it make a difference if you kept your baby or not?

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M.C.

answers from Honolulu on

I was 36 when I gave birth to my 2nd child. I just figured if the triple screen came back OK that I would not get the amnio. My husband and I also agreed that even if we did find out that our child had downs syndorme, we would not terminate the pregnancy anyway - so maybe why risk the amnio. Anyway, the triple screen came back OK and I did not do further testing and all is well!

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N.L.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi H.,

I think the question to ask yourself is whether or not you would handle the pregnancy any different. What I mean is, would you consider going through with the pregnancy if you found out your child had down syndrome or if you would terminate. I just turned 35 and decided to pass on amnio because I truly believe that God will not put us through anything we can't handle. I decided that I would not handle this pregnancy any different than if I found out that my child had down's syndrome. Hope this helps!!

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G.D.

answers from Modesto on

Unless you are highrisk to genetic disorders or you are too concerned about it then do it!! I did it with both my boys!!! and they were negative for it all!!! But now they are both AUTISTIC!!! That was caused by vaccination and Flu Shot taken during pregnancy!!! If I had knoon then what I know now I would have skipped the Ammnio and woried more about TOXICITY!! AMALGAMS, SHOTS, Rx MEDICATIONS, PPESTICIDES IN FOOD (GO ORGANIC) MSG in SOY & in ASPARTAME and how it affects your brain and that of your child!!! All autoimmine illnesses have a conection with this: TOXICITY!!! I recomend a good book: Detoxify or Dye... and google: Exitotoxins & Dr. Russel Baylock, also MSG and SOY!!! Love, G.. :0)

P.S. Genetics load the gun & environment pulls the trigger...you can't change your gens but you can avoid building up toxicity, and causing an autoimmune disease!!!

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M.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

I was a high risk pregnancy at the age of 29 because I was pregnant with identical twins. We had to get ultrasounds every other week and have non-stress tests every week by the time I was 13 weeks. It was a challenge to stay positive, especially when they recommended I get an amniocentesis at 20 weeks because my hormone levels were a little off, which may or may not of meant that the twins were carrying a defect gene. After considering my options, I decided not to have the amnio. In my opinion, I felt that the risk of breaking my sac and losing one or both of my girls was far worse than discovering one of them had a defect. In reality my husband and I would of done nothing (terminate the pregnancy)regardless if they were diagnosed with down syndrome or etc. So, it's a matter of what you think is more important to you and your babies health. I feel that doctors can sometimes add more stress than neccessary and that maybe sometimes ignorance is bliss! By the way, or girls came to us 4 weeks early, but as healthy as could be!! They just celebrated their 3rd birthday a couple of weeks ago. Good luck and do be good to yourself and your baby!

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T.L.

answers from San Francisco on

I think you should follow your heart- and stick with that. I was 38 when I was pregnant and saw no reason for this type of invasion to the baby. I have a beautiful baby boy now. But if you have valid reason for being concerned, then it is important. If you live a healthy life style, then you should be good. How was your mother doing in her pregnancy? Do you trust your body's strength? How would it benefit you to know? Would you have it aborted if there are signs of DS? I wish you clarity in your decision whatever that is.

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A.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi H.,

I turned 35 just a few months before I got pregnant. I've always been healthy and wasn't worried about the pregnancy. My decision came down to this: If my child was born with something wrong that COULD have been fixed or treated in utero, I would not have been able to live with myself. For that reason (and knowing that we would not terminate the pregnancy if Down's was present) we decided to have the amnio. Our son was fine, and it gave me peace of mind. Good luck with your pregnancy and decision making process!

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D.C.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi,
I was 38 when I was pregnant. I did the integrative studies with blood work and ultrasound to measure the fluid in back of baby's neck. I was considered "high risk" because of my age but when I did genetic testing they said I was like a "32 yr. old." My daughter is now 15 months with normal development. This integrative testing is about 99% accurate for detecting a baby with down's syndrome. Amiocentesis has it's risk ie. loss of amio. fluid. It also depends on how experienced the doctor is.
Take care!

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J.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

I actually turned 35 while pregnant as well. They make such a huge deal out of the age and I am not to sure why. The risk of Down syndrome is not that much higher than in a 34 year old. We chose not to do it. I did all the prescreen tests and they came back normal. Obviously it is a personal decision, but I thought the risk of miscarriage was way to high, like one in 200 or something like that. The risk of a baby with Down was far less. Unless you have other factors or the prescreens come back abnormal, I don't think it is worth the risk. My best friends co worker did amnio. She got a call a couple of weeks later and they said, you have a healthy baby boy! Well two days later she went in for an appointment and there was no heartbeat, she was 18 weeks. Not sure if it would have happened anyway, but I choose to believe it was the amnio. We left it in God's hands, he put her there he will see it through. I am due in 3 weeks. : )

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R.S.

answers from San Francisco on

i opted to do a genetic screen where they look at blood work and ultrasounds at two stages in the babies development looking for genetic markers, spine development and things like that. we decided that if anything flagged there that we would do the amnio. i was 38 when i got pregnant with my twins. since everything on those tests came back normal, we didn't do the amnio. my twins will be 2 next month and both are totally normal and healthy!!!

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H.R.

answers from San Francisco on

I was 41 when I got pregnant the first time. Of course they told me that I was a high risk pregnancy because of my age and I even had a genetic counselor tell me that I would fail the initial blood test. I had no stress about the pregnancy, knew full well what I was getting into when I got pregnant and chose to fully trust God in this pregnancy. I did not have the amnio or any other invasive tests, just the blood test. Interestingly, I did not fail the blood test. I had a friend of mine tell me her experience about having an amnio and the baby is aware of what is happening. It kept moving away from the needle. That stopped me from thinking about having an amnio. I had a healthy, beautiful baby girl with no problems at all. Thank God.

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