Whether or not to have prenatal examination during pregnancy

There are proponents and opponents of prenatal research. If it is not possible based on religious beliefs, then it is possible on principle. But the “battle” on whether or not to use prenatal research during pregnancy remains fierce for the time being.

Assumptions

Usually it is not possible to convince each other why you should do it and why you should not do it. There is certainly no discussion based on religious beliefs, because if you have an explicit religious belief then you follow that principle.

In addition, there is the curious parent who likes to look at his/her baby that is still in the belly. This is very innocent and a moment to look forward to for the parents-to-be. However, that moment can also mean that something is wrong with your child and then the pregnancy is no longer fun at all. Or is it so bad that you are even given the choice to terminate the pregnancy or you live with the idea that your child will soon have to undergo all kinds of operations.

Anyway, in addition to all those wonderful moments, there can suddenly also be moments that are not so nice at all. So it remains a dilemma for every parent-to-be whether to do it or not.

Role of physicians

Most doctors are reluctant rather than encouraging to perform all kinds of ultrasounds, with the exception of high-risk groups. From 2007 onwards, women will only be reimbursed for the 20-week ultrasound. If you are a woman under the age of 36, you often have to pay for the combination test yourself, which can also be traced back to Down syndrome. In a number of countries around us this is arranged differently and the overall picture does not make it any easier for the parents-to-be. In addition, you must also be able to consider that if it turns out negatively, you can deal with it. Many doctors and midwives in the Netherlands are relatively reluctant to adopt these types of processes (apart from the fact that it may run in the family, of course). In the Netherlands, pregnancy may be terminated up to the 24th week.

Possibilities

There are now all kinds of tests available to visualize your unborn child. Not all without risk, but the doctors emphasize this.

12 week ultrasound

Every pregnant woman can have this ultrasound. This ultrasound is often used to see how far along you are in your pregnancy. Is the heart beating and there may be more babies in the belly. It is not yet possible to identify real deviations, but they can be roughly examined. Determining gender is only possible once during this ultrasound.

20 weeks Echo

Standard for all women since 2007 and the majority of women (93%) also use it. Conditions such as spina bifida, heart or kidney problems may be identified. But also whether the abdominal wall is good, whether your child has a cleft lip and of course the gender can now be determined.

Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is carried out by injecting approximately 15 ml with a hollow needle. to remove amniotic fluid from the uterus. It only makes sense to do this after the 14th week of pregnancy. Amniocentesis can detect Down syndrome or spina bifida. It is a thorough test, but also has a slightly increased risk of spontaneous miscarriage. This happens to one in 300 women and the test is considered useful (and reimbursed) from the age of 36.

Chorionic villus sampling

The chorionic villus sampling takes place by removing flakes from the placenta with a needle between the 11th and 13th week and testing for Down syndrome. However, it is only used in women where there is an increased risk. Here too, women aged 36 and over will be reimbursed for the test. The chance of a spontaneous miscarriage is slightly higher than with amniocentesis, namely one in 200 women.

Combination test

Earlier in this article we talked about the combination test, but it consists of an ultrasound, as described earlier, and a blood test. This takes place around the 12th week of pregnancy. This test also focuses on Down syndrome and does not provide certainty. At most it can be seen as a risk determinant.
From the age of 36 you will only be reimbursed for the test as standard.

Fun ultrasound

The fun ultrasound that you can now have made in special centers is just what the word says. Nice 3D pictures that are lightly colored can be shown during pregnancy. It is often commercial and expensive and says nothing about the condition of the baby in the womb. It goes without saying that none of this will be reimbursed.

Finally

You can only advise parents-to-be and point out the risks, but it is ultimately the parents’ choice whether or not to participate in a test for whatever reason. Respect the parents’ choice, because any form of coercion produces at most a form of stress and that is certainly not good for the child.