Monday, January 4, 2010

Nuchal Fold Testing

I bet most of you have never heard of this. I had not heard of this test until about two years ago, when I was pregnant with Ben. It is a test done between the 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy, and it measures the fold of skin at the back of the baby's neck. Supposedly, if the measurement is high, it indicates some kind of a problem.

When I went to my doctor back in December, he scheduled me to have this test done, because of my "advanced" age. I did not ask him any questions, because I had misunderstood why I was going to the high risk doctor. When I finally realized that it was this test I was scheduled for, I was quite surprised. I did not want to have this test done because I did not want to know that there "might" be a problem and dwell on that for several weeks. I also did not want to be told there was a problem, and then be expected or encouraged to terminate the pregnancy.

I called the doctor last week, with the intent to cancel this test. The receptionist that answered the phone was very kind and answered all my questions. She told me that many people call and cancel because they feel the doctor will encourage them to terminate; she said they never encourage that.

So I kept the appointment. Late last night, I decided to do a bit of reading on this test, to prepare myself for today. It really is an easy test- just an ultrasound. But I kept on reading, and found out that this test has alot of false positives- alot of telling you there "might" be a problem, when in reality there isn't. I don't know if any of you remember me going through this with Ben, but it made for an anxious several weeks as we waited for the results. (I didn't have this test with him- this was from a blood test)

I woke up this morning and went to the appointment, all with a feeling of dread. I prayed on the way there that God would send me someone who would understand what I was feeling and would validate my feelings.

I walked into the little nurses room to do the blood pressure and stuff and told her right off I was having second thoughts. She immediately told me I did not have to have this test if I did not want to. I told her my concerns, and she understood and told me I was right. If this test was abnormal, there were more tests, maybe an amniocentesis (which I would never have), but the thing was, they wouldn't know what the exact problem was until the 20 week level 2 ultrasound.

My response? Well, I'll just wait until then. Why should I take a test that may or may not be totally accurate when I can wait 7 weeks to have the ultrasound, which should find any problems? Seemed awful clear to me and I walked out of the office, feeling much better. The nurse couldn't have been nicer and was a direct answer to my prayer.

Other than termination of the pregnancy, I do not know why anyone would choose to have this test. One opinion I read said that this test was just a ploy to get the insurance companies to pay for the higher priced test, the amniocentesis. I'm not sure how accurate that is, but it sure makes you wonder.

3 comments: said...

Good for you! So sorry they made you scared at all - shame on them! Glad God answered your prayer by sending that sweet angel (nurse) to encourage you!


Anonymous said...

Gods ways are always better, He forms each baby according to His plan. I am proud of you and pray for you too. Love, Mom

Angie said...

Beth ~ Andy was the only baby I had in "advanced age" The only special test I was willing to do was the level 2 ultra-sound. They measured the Neck at that time. I would not have mattered to me either way, I was more interested to see what "plumbing" he/she had. I brought all my kids and my mom with me to the appointment. I will never forget how excited Garrett was. The DR said, "you have 3 girls and 1 boy now... now you have 3 girls and 2 boys" Garrett jumped 2 feet off the floor, kissed my mother and said "This is the BEST day of my life" Then he looked at the DR and got very serious and said, "Are you sure???" and the Dr looked back at him, somehow keeping a straight face, and said, "Yes, Garrett I'm sure, they don't put those on girls" :) Truth is, like you I just think all babies are a blessing no matter what! You and I are VERY VERY VERY blessed. Love, Angie