Prenatal testing is a relatively common way to check for certain types of abnormalities with your baby. If your healthcare provider is recommending that you have prenatal testing, there’s important questions that you need to think about and ask yourself before you proceed.
While this is true in general, it’s especially important when the tests are designed to screen for conditions that can’t be medically treated.
Here are some of the questions you want to ask:
- What am I going to do with the results of the test? If the results, normal, it can reduce some of your prenatal anxiety. On the other hand, if the results come back and show that your baby may have some sort of birth defect, it can add significantly to your anxiety. It might even have you questioning whether you want to continue the pregnancy.
- How will the results change your prenatal practices? In some cases, a prenatal test may be up to detect a problem that can still be treated while you are pregnant. In other situations, the tests might give a sign to your doctor that you or your baby will need specific attention immediately after birth.
- How reliable will the results be? Some prenatal tests are more accurate than others. Some tests carry a high risk of false negatives or false positives.
- Are there risks involved in this testing? Some prenatal testing procedures, such as amniocentesis, can create a risk of miscarriage or other problems, including pain and anxiety. You have to weigh the risks against the importance of knowing what the results of the test are going to be.
- What expense is involved? Insurance will cover certain types of prenatal testing, but not all insurance covers all types of prenatal testing. You’ll want to check in at a time to see whether or not the particular prenatal test is covered by your insurance plan. If it’s not, then you need to know how much the test will cost so that you can prepare for it financially.
It is your decision
Prenatal testing something that you and your partner have to decide about. Your healthcare provider may have recommendations and advice, but ultimately it is your pregnancy it is up to you whether or not you’re going to pursue this testing.
- New prenatal genetic tests hold promise, worries (boston.com)