Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. --John Milton

Monday, August 31, 2015

Pregnancy Choices: Birth Defects Screening

Before switching practices, I sat on the exam table while my midwife explained to an intern, "She's not getting the test - it's if you might want an abortion." Abortion - not a word I was comfortable hearing said nonchalantly from the mouth of one whose hands I trusted to cherish the life within.

I was going on instinct then. Now I understand a little more. There are a couple routine fetal screenings to test for birth defects during the first and second trimesters.

Nuchal Translucency Screening Test (ultrasound) plus Multiple Marker Screening (blood)
"These tests do not provide a definitive answer as to whether your child has a deformity or chromosomal abnormality, only statistical indications. Should they indicate possible problems, additional testing may be recommended, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS)."(Morell, 63)
(Amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling are dangerous diagnostic tests.)
"Such testing is completely pointless unless the parents would choose to terminate the pregnancy." (62)
Is "completely pointless" too strong? What benefits or risks for any of these tests come to mind? I'm about being informed and making responsible choices, not having the same opinions. You have a valuable perspective to share.

More info: The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon Morell and Thomas S. Cowan, MD. MidwifeThinking provides a helpful resource for understanding screenings and diagnostic tests.


  1. I really only looked at testing as an option for those willing to get an abortion, but now I can some advantages even for those completely opposed to it (like me!) I wrote about my findings last year, if you're interested:

  2. Your blog post is a helpful discussion on being screened to prepare for possible needs of my baby. And I hadn't thought of being screened before conceiving. What would that look like?