To Amnio or Not to Amnio?

Updated on April 03, 2007
C.A. asks from Windham, NH
31 answers

I'm 14 wks pregnant. I've just gotten results back from my ultrascreen to check for chromosomal disorders (ie. Downs syndrome). The results have put me at high risk (1 in 181)for having a baby with downs. The doctor has suggested soing an amniocentesis to diagnose this, the ultrascreen is just a screening process to define you risk. I'm trying to decide if I should go through with it or not. I would never terminate the pregnancy no matter what the resuls say. But, I feel like I need to know. I'm a mternity nurse so I know amnios are relitively safe, but just the fact that there is some risk makes me think twice.

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So What Happened?

My Husband and I discussed our results with our Doctor. He told us that at my 18wk Ultrasound there are some other markers that they can look for to determine if my baby is high risk or not for downs. We decided to wait until after the ultrasound to do an amnio. If there were other signs for downs than we would have it done. Well I had the ultrasound two weeks ago and everything came back just fine. All the markers were negative and SHE looked very healthy. We dacided not to do the amnio. Thank you all for your responses.

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S.A.

answers from Boston on

Hi, when I was pregnant the last time (1 year ago) my daoctor told me that the screening they do with tat test usually gives a false positive result. I don't know if it's true or not but maybe find out before making a final decision.

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T.P.

answers from Boston on

I did not do it for either of my children. It did not seem right for me to interfere and possible cause harm. I would love and care for my baby either way.

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L.C.

answers from Portland on

If you wouldn't terminate the baby then why go with it? You are going to love that baby regardless to it having problems or not am I wrong? I wouldn't go through with it . . . its kind of scary to me. Good luck with it all.

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D.E.

answers from Springfield on

Hi -

I had an amnio with my youngest . . . I work with developmentally disabled folks and thought (still think) it was in my best interest to know so I could be prepared. I think you should have the test, so that no matter what the results say, you are prepared. Life throws enough at all of us and we don't always know whats around the corner. Its nice when we can get that information. Best of Luck to you and God Bless!

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A.C.

answers from Boston on

Hi C.-
I would suggest, since you wouldn't terminate the pregnancy regardless of the results, not to get the amnio. I was calculated at about the same risk. I didn't do the amnio and just waited for my 20 week U/S. It all depends on YOUR feeling on the situation. Those tests are not all too dependable. Seems there are a few factors that it may not take into consideration. Both my sister and I failed our AFP (my sister twice and me once) and we both had perfectly healthy babies. Good luck in either decision you make.

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O.M.

answers from Springfield on

Dear C.,
Only you can decide what you want. However,I wouldn't do it.I'm glad that you are going to keep the baby!! And remember your other boys are all healthy and God willing so will this one . I was told at my fourth pregnancy that my baby could have cystic fybrosis because I'm a carrier and the doctor wanted me to do the amniocentesis . I refused and I had another healthy baby boy. And I believe you will too. Put it behind you , have Faith,and enjoy your pregancy .
O. (mom of four boys)

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W.D.

answers from Boston on

I had an alternative to the amnio - a level 3 u/s with extra bloodwork.. I had to go into Boston for the u/s but it was worth the trip.. ask your ob about that..

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J.C.

answers from Providence on

I had to have an amnio at 36 weeks. Not from anything more then lung development. I was measuring bigger then normal and there was a question of how far a long I really was. They didn't want me to go into labor because of preexcisting condition. I really didn't want to do it. After thinking about it I went through with it and to be 100% honest it wasn't that bad. My baby was pretty big and it took some searching for a free space, once it was over and everybody was fine it ended up worth it. My daughter was born the next day. There are risks as with everything but if knowing is that importent to you then you should do it.

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A.M.

answers from Providence on

C.,

I would do the amnio just for the fact that if the baby is going to be born ill, it will give you some time to prepare.

Hope this helps,
A.

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N.C.

answers from Portland on

really pay attention to your instincts, how did you initially feel when it was suggested? bad, ok, just a little cautious, like you needed it or didn't need it...? go with your gut.

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H.M.

answers from Boston on

When i was pregnant with my daughter my tests also came back with high risk of downs. My doctor sent me to UMASS and i had a level 2 ultrasound done and they said that everything looked fine but gave me the option for the amnio for piece of mind. I got the amnio (which was harder for my boyfriend to watch than it was for me) Every thing turned out fine and now i have a healthy beautiful 10 month old girl. I knew there was risks with the amnio but if something was wrong i wanted to be able to research so i could prepare for her arrival. If i had not done it i think i would have been a wreck through my whole pregnancy. I'm glad i did it. I say do it cause your gonna want to know, and the risk are low if you have it done early cause the baby is small and there is alot of fluid around him or her. (less chance of hurting the baby) If you think you can make it mentally not knowing then don't do it but i know it would have driven me crazy!!!!

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K.M.

answers from Providence on

Hi C., i have a 9 month old son and even though i wasnt at a high risk, they asked me (along with every other mom, they have to give u the option) if i wanted that done. Right away my answer was "no" and i'll tell you why. You are already certain that you wouldnt terminate the pregnancy regardless of the results, so you should think very hard about the fact that having that done does carry some risk. What if they had an accident and terminated the pregnancy when thats not what u wanted? To me hun, you've already accepted the fact that you could have a "downs" child, and thats the hardest part.... you are going to love it either way, so why risk losing your child simply for a "yes" or "no" answer? (which could be false-positive).. if u were considering terminating your pregnancy, that would be a different story b/c the future of u and ur child would depend on this answer. But it doesnt, so good luck with your decision hun... god bless you and your little angel

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R.F.

answers from Lewiston on

Your right that's a scary thing. Personally, if I knew that no matter what the results I wouldn't terminate, then why risk the slight chance that something will happen during the amnio? As a nurse I'm sure you know that there are many different levels of Downs from very slight to very severe. No matter what you are going to love your child. I don't know if your religious at all but I've always been told to pray and the answer will come. Good luck and I hope you find the answers you need.

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A.P.

answers from Boston on

Since you already know you would not terminate the pregnancy, getting the amnio would help you to prepare if the child is diagnosed with DS. Is the risk of the amnio higher than the risk of having a baby with DS?

Good luck with your decision.

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P.B.

answers from Hartford on

I was in a similar situation when I was pregnant with my second. I skipped the recommended screenings thinking what are the odds... When I went in for my 20 week ultrasound they found some spots near the heart that suggested possible downs syndrome. I was given about the same risk factor you were. After the shock faded some we decided not to find out for sure. I knew I wouldn't terminate the pregnancy and didn't want to take the risks of the amnio either. I'm a glass half full type of thinker and put the possibility to the back of my thoughts and decided to enjoy my pregnancy and take things as came. I delivered a very healthy almost 9 pound baby!! We're planning her second birthday party soon and those worries seem so far away now but I can understand how you are feeling. Hang in there and think possitive thoughts.

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S.M.

answers from Portland on

Try not to worry! Two of our friends got similar "high risk" results from the triple screen blood test and both went on to have gorgeous, healthy babies. Has your doctor given you the option of doing a detailed Level 2 ultrasound (sounded like this was an ultrasound screening that goes above and beyond the usual one most of us get at 20 weeks) to check for abnormalities? That is what one of our friends did, and the ultrasound confirmed for them that their baby appeared to be growing normally and didn't display any physical characteristics of down syndrome or other chromosomal disorders. I know it was a HUGE load off their minds. I realize an ultrasound isn't as 100% as an amnio would be, but it may be a gentler option...

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H.M.

answers from Boston on

hello C.,

I am now 38weeks prego and I had an amnio at 25 weeks because my daughter was diagnosed with spina bifida and they wanted to make sure she didnt have any other chromosomal problems.There are risks of course there are really risks with a lot of things we do in life. I to said that I would terminate either but wanted to know what I was dealing with and with knowing exactly what she had it could give better health care... I have since had two of them in all and nothing has happend. But since we know she has spina bifida and no other problems(thank God) i have extensive care, considerably extensive compared to a "normal" pregnancy.....Dont think of it as if you get this a mnio it will determine if you will terminate, think of it as knowing so when you have your child you are aware and educated with what you need and can do for your child....I have since I found out already set up care for her futher ie physical therapy and such things before she is even born... Do the test love so you can educate your self.
If you have any questions about the test feel free to msg me anytime.

[email protected]____.com

sincerly H.

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T.M.

answers from Boston on

well being a nurse you know the risks involved. perhpas you would be better to know if your child had down syndrome and then can read up on it nad be as prepared as you can and it will also help the neonatal team as soon as the baby is delivered. best of luck.

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T.P.

answers from Boston on

C.,

This is such a difficult decision. At 24 weeks, I found out that my child would have several birth defects and was offered an amnio. I refused. But as time went on, I suffered from severe polyhydramnios and fluid had to be extracted on a frequent basis and figured- well, they already pulled it- go ahead and send it off at this point. I know the "not knowing" if your child will be sick or not is hard. But to be honest, knowing the baby is sick is just as hard. I would constantly have nightmares of what would be wrong with the baby and it was a very stressful pregnancy. People always say knowing is better but sometimes I am not so sure. If we plan on keeping the baby no matter what- that what is really the purpose in knowing? This is a hard one. Just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you during this hard time. P.S. Many surgeries later- the baby is perfectly healthy! :) www.caringbridge.org/mn/ryanpage

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D.V.

answers from Boston on

There is a 99.99 percent chance that your baby doesn't have Downs syndrome, then. And what is the margin of error on the ultrascreen?

I think doctors try to worry us too much. But,if it will truly bring you peace of mind, then you should do it.

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V.D.

answers from Boston on

Hi C.,
Congratulations on your pregnancy! I am a mother of a 3 1/2 year old boy and expecting my second boy any day now. I had an ultrasound that showed a spot on the baby's heart at 18 weeks and they suggested I go for a level two ultrasound and then follow with genetic counseling/amnio to determine the results. They told me there was a 50% chance it was down syndrome. I had denied taking the alpha feta protein test given around week 15 since there are many many false positives and i am a worrier and didn't want to stress out. You said you would not terminate the pregnancy no matter what, that to me right there says that you will love that baby no matter what abnormalities or not. Why risk it? Any risk is too much risk in my eyes. I felt the same way and denied the amnio, went through with the level 2 and they said it was just a calcium deposit and nothing to worry about. I know there are many people who get amnios and are fine but I wasn't willing to take that chance. God forbid your child does have down syndrome,there are so many varying degrees slight to severe that you still will be in the dark about what to expect but now will worry for the next 20 or so weeks. Sorry to go on and on, I hope this helped you a little bit, good luck, i wish you the best.
V. D.

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K.A.

answers from Barnstable on

I never got a amnio with either of my children. I figured even if it is positive was I going to terminate the pregnancy? No. So was knowing that info that, could be a false positive anyways, going to change anything when the baby came, no. I have heard of amnio's causing miscarriages also. I decided to not find out. I didn't want to stress myself out the rest of the pregnancy about something I have no control over, can't change, and finding out before hand is not going to help the situation. The decision is totally up to the indiviual. Good Luck!

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L.W.

answers from Boston on

My son will be 4 in May and I had this done because of my age, I wanted it done. I'm not good with surprises and I felt that by doing so I would know. My son turned out fine but I would love him just as much if he wasn't. As long as you feel comfortable with your doctor who does the procedure.

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J.R.

answers from Providence on

We had an amnio with our 2nd son for tri-soma 18 (possibility of no brain) at around 20 weeks. Everything worked out, but we just HAD to know. This was almost 5 years ago. Recently there have been studies that indicate that the risk of miscarriage is not any higher with this test. Check out this link:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15673977/site/newsweek/
If you NEED to know, you will do what you need to do. Everyone is different and only you can decide what you NEED to know. There are risks with any test, but it's good to know you have counted all the chromosomes (ask about the FISH test -- results come back within 24 hours for the 5 most likely to triple, including the Downs chromosome). Best of everything to you and your growing family,
-J.

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K.C.

answers from Boston on

Hi C.

I just had that test this morning as well. I think you should go through with the rest of the test to mentally prepare yourself.
Good luck
K.

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R.K.

answers from Boston on

Hi C.,

Is the test you are referring to called the Nuchal Translucency screening? I am in my 13th week of pregnancy and also just recieved my results. I too screened positive for downs syndrome (1 in 210 and my cut-off is 1 in 220). My doctor told me that the test is still 'evolving' and that the results are not definitive. I know the blood work doesn't lie however what if the ultrasound tech measured incorrectly? Wouldn't that throw off the whole test? He said that the only way they could be 100% is to have a CVS sampling or an amniocentesis, however he didn't recommend either instead he wants me to go see a geneticist. I like you would never terminate the pregnancy depending on the results. My husband and I have discussed this a lot (as I can imagine you have with your husband) and we have decided not to have any of the testing (CVS or Amnio) because a miscarriage (albeit a small chance) at this stage would be more devastating to us than having a child with downs syndrome. I am also like you and need to know however I just don't want to take a risk. For now, I am going to do all the research I can on downs syndrome and learn as much as I can to be prepared just in case the screening is accurate. Good luck! Please let me know what you decide.

Becky

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N.F.

answers from Boston on

Taking the test is totally up to you and being a nurse you know that small or not there is a risk. I lost a child at full term (cord around neck) so when I got preg 10 years later they told me to do a amino since i never had a autopsy and I did to be on the safe side. I had a second level ultrasound first then a amnio. It came out that my son has downs. We were prepared for it and it never happened. he was born and they did all kinds of tests and there was and still is no downs. That is just what I went through. The decision is totally up to you and your partner. Good Luck and God Bless you and your family!!!

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W.G.

answers from Boston on

Hi C.,

I had to respond to your posting because my baby also tested positive for a high risk of Downs Syndrome-1 in 13! Needless to say, with odds like that, I opted to have the amnio. It took more than 2 weeks to get that appointment, and then another week of waiting for the results. That was the worst month of my life. Worse than when I had miscarried twins before THAT pregnancy! Both of those circumstances were very difficult and trying experiences though....especially for someone who had carried 3 previous pregnancies with NO problem whatsoever...and had never had problems conceiving before either! I'm very glad though that I did the amnio. I can't say for sure what I would have done if it had turned out poorly, but fortunately I wasn't forced to have to make that decision. The amnio proved that my daughter was perfectly healthy and normal, so I was able to enjoy the remainder of my pregnancy and to look forward to her birth, rather than spending the time worried and filled with anxiety. I think that finding out, and the risk in doing so is worth the peace of mind you'll get from knowing definitively what to expect, but that's just my opinion. No one can tell you what's best for you...only you truly know that. Good luck with everything...wishing you the best!

-W.

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C.B.

answers from Boston on

That's a really scary thing to face, even for a nurse, your still human :)

I suggest getting the amnio and here's why: You already know that lots of times they find no other cause for concern and that can put your mind at ease. Sometimes they do find more evidence of chromosomal disorder, not the news you hope for, but at least this would give you time to prepare yourself mentally, as well as your children and family members should you choose to tell them.

Best Wishes ~C.

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C.O.

answers from Boston on

hi, i personally wouldnt do thid kind of test. i do have a special needs child(brain damage, cerebral palsy) i feel the same never would terminate. but i also wouldnt want to take the risk if the person doing the test made a mistake & i lost my child. i would be devasted. its a personal choice. but you already know there is a small chance for a downs baby. i have met many downs. there such a wonderful additon to the world. so full of life, they tend to have behavior issues. well good luck on your descion but remember you already know your at risk. i would just prepare for downs & if the child turns out to be "normal" so be it. theres not too much you could do for the baby. if indeed he or she is downs remeber your baby might need to go to the NICU. its scary..no lie. but your already a nurse. my son spent 8 wks in the nicu. it was hard for us but i'm so glad to have had the expirence. so good luck & happy pregancy. take care of yourself. luv always C. :)

www.cameron42704.zoomshare.com

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H.M.

answers from Boston on

Honestly, I would do the test. This way you'll be read for what ever does come about. You can do some reading, get lots of info. etc. You'd also be able to get the children ready the house ready, everything. It would make me feel better knowing what was about to happen.
Go with what your heart tells you though. It's your own personal decision. I wish you the best of luck!
((hugs))
H.

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