As I'm expecting my 6th child, I've come to certain conclusions about prenatal testing based on my own personal experiences as well as my Faith as a Believer in Jesus Christ.
Since I've embraced home birth, I believe that a good percentage of prenatal testing is unnecessary, scary and risky. I would remember praying fervently that my "gestational diabetes" test came back negative when I planned a hospital birth. I remember being berated into not having a very expensive genetics test that my insurance wouldn't pay for.
I came across an article, some time after the birth of my second child (hospital birth), stating that part of the reason for problematic births and postnatal issues stemmed from lack of prenatal care. I had a HARD time swallowing that statement. What does a doctor (or midwife) do but administer tests and "advice"? How does all these tests contribute to the health and well-being of my unborn child? What exactly IS prenatal care?? Isn't what I eat; how I exercise; what I breathe; what I believe all apart of the safety net of prenatal care? No amount of diabetes testing, amniocentesis (which carries a real risk of miscarriage) urine test can alter or contribute to the health of my child. All it does is INFORM so there can, or may be an ACTION. And that action comes from me, not a doctor.
In that light, should I not be critical and cautious of whatever prescribed drugs/tests I take during pregnancy, if not prior to pregnancy (i.e. birth control medications)? If I fail to eat (as well as other positive care) in a way that benefits the child growing, all the prenatal testing in the world cannot contribute to the well-being of the child. All it does (testing) is give me a result that CAN be questionable and/or inconclusive. Most importantly, if I incorporate the widespread fears of pregnancy and childbirth into my own beliefs, no test exists that can overcome the conflict I feel with my own body. I firmly believe, that you ARE what you believe. As Proverbs 23:7 states: "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..." This is true in the fact that doctors and midwives encourage "positive thinking" because they, themselves, have witnessed the difference between a confident laboring woman, and a fearful laboring woman.
I found an article that details various prenatal testing as confirmation to my decision not to "buy" into the stereotype that prenatal testing somehow contributes to the health of the unborn child.
The following information was taken from Mothering Magazine to read the article in it's entirety please click on link below:
Prenatal Testing and Informed Consent: Base Your Choices on the Evidence
By Peggy O'Mara Issue 120, September/October 2003
From the book Mothering Magazine's Having A Baby, Naturally: The Mothering
Magazine Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth edited and published by Peggy O'Mara
with Wendy Ponte. Copyright © 2003 by The Philip Lief Group, Inc. and Mothering
Magazine, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Atria Books, an imprint of Simon and
"There is a good reason for that familiarity. It is because many of these
prenatal tests, originally created to test certain high-risk pregnancy
situations, have become standard practice for all pregnant women. While you may
think that these tests can do no harm, some of them have never been thoroughly
studied for safety to mother and baby, and may present physical risks to both.
Relying on prenatal tests to ease your concerns may also create an atmosphere of
worry and anxiety, just what you had hoped to avoid by taking them. Results can
sometimes be vague and, what's worse, misleading. As long ago as 1974, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommended that its members take great care to obtain informed consent from their patients before
proceeding with any tests or treatments. ACOG was careful to distinguish between consent and informed consent. In other words, patients should fully understand
what will happen to them and their unborn children before proceeding blindly
with any type of testing or treatment. This is particularly important now, years
later, since many tests are prescribed by physicians who assume that their
patients understand what the tests are meant to assess, as well as their risks
to mother and baby."
Informed consent means much more than just showing up for a scheduled
ultrasound or amniocentesis. You have the right to: Understand in detail how
the procedure is administered. Understand all the risks associated with it.
Know what the alternatives are: is there another test or procedure that
poses less risk? Carefully consider the physical and emotional impacts.
Feel free to say no to any tests you don't feel are necessary. Before you can decide to give informed consent, you need to understand the tests and procedures that are routinely administered during pregnancy-ultrasound, the triple screen, amniocentesis, and chorionic villus sampling."
...When is Ultrasound Necessary? Ultrasound diagnosis has important uses in pregnancy: To quickly establish whether or not a fetus is still alive.
When there is early bleeding, to predict if a miscarriage is happening.
To confirm a suspected ectopic pregnancy (where the egg has implanted into a fallopian tube rather than the uterus), a blighted ovum (where a sac grows without an embryo inside it), or a molar pregnancy (where a "false" pregnancy grows inside the uterus), when used in conjunction with other tests.
Author's Note:First Update: 2/9/11 - This is a very informative article. Please do take a moment to visit the link and read it in whole. It mentions the amniocentesis test and the increased rate of miscarriages as a risk.
Second Update: 12/27/14 - This article was originally inspired by an article found at http://www.mothering.com/pregnancy-birth/prenatal-testing-and-informed-consent. This link no longer exists and has been replaced by a forum on Mothering.com. You'll find the article published here: http://www.mothering.com/articles/prenatal-testing-and-informed-consent-base-your-choices-on-the-evidence/
Please stay tuned for a revamped version of this post, which will be based on my own personal research and experiences. Follow TOP on any social media for updates.