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Overcoming the medical fearmongering!

posted 1 decade 5 years ago
Hi guys - first post. First time Dad to be and all that.

Well, we're a couple of months and a bit in and my wifes had her first couple of interactions with the medical people - doctor and midwife. I sense she's getting a little anxious and now that they're detailing the barrage of testing that needs to be done. Of course, however 'nice' the professionals are, the nature of what they're saying scares people half to death!

I think she's currently most worried about the spina-bifida/downs syndrome tests - whether to get the bloodtest and cell smaple if that's worrying (free on NHS) or the more high-tech, less invasive ultrasound that you need to pay for. I've told her to get the non-invasive one.

More generally, though, I can tell she's getting a bit rattled by the medical barrage, especially as she's 35. She's also from a latin background where the anglo-saxon medicalised/psychobabbalised approach is less embedded and preganancy and childbirth are not overcomplicated but normal and natural and everyday. Funnily enough, she perfectly healthy and her mum was 42 when she gave birth! She has friends who gave birth later than that who aren't half as healthy and everything was utterly fine and complication free. We concieved normally at - quite literally - the first time of asking.

Reading some of the material she's now armed with, I could see the logic in just having the baby in the forest as nature intended and saying stuff it! Wink

Anyway, my question is how can I reassure her when she's looking a bit anxious about the medical side of things (I'm really not used to seeing her carriying real anxiety)? How did you get over any anxieties about the medical barrage, especially if an 'older' mother?

posted 1 decade 5 years ago
I'm an older mum (so they tell me Embarassed ). I was 33 when I had Jas and now almost 43 when I had Sophie.

With both girls I had the nuchal scan and paid for it privately at the Fetal Medicine Centre in London. Originally, with Jas, I paid because the tests at local hospitals were not so accurate at the time and I wanted to be sure everything was ok. Our natural choice was the same place this time around.

I would only have had an invasive test if the nuchal scan had shown up a serious issue. I'd already decided in my head what odds they would need to give me that there was a problem for me to move forward with anything else. At my age of 42 at the time of Sophie's birth (I was 43 3 weeks later) the odds were 1 in 45 of Downs. With the scan and blood test (both done same day and results immediate) the recalculated odds were something like 1 in 1350. I was more than happy with that and it was enough for me.

My eldest was born at 34 weeks and despite being premature, labour was spontaneous, last 3hrs 20mins and she was absolutely fine after a week in the SCBU.

Little one was born on my EDD as I was induced. They broke the waters and then I was away naturally and she was born 5hr 35mins later. The hospital I chose to go to wouldn't let women over 40 go over their EDD due to the increased risk of stillbirth (still very low odds of that happening but they didn't take any chances) and yet another hospital just down the road are happy to let women of all ages go up to 2 weeks overdue. Much will depend where you go on their policies. We chose to go a little further afield as I do not like our local hospital. It's your choice.

I would go with what you both feel is right for you and not be pressurised by all the 'officials'. Two of the NCT group I went to had home births against the midwives initial wishes but it was their choice and they both had fine, healthy babies.

Good luck to you both


posted 1 decade 5 years ago
Although I was only 21 when I had my first baby I had a risk greater than the average 40 year old mum. It should have been 1 in 1,135 but my risk was 1 in 31! I was sad and scared about the fact that it was really down to me to make any decisions regarding tests and what the outcome of those tests meant. I was told my baby could have Down's Syndrome, that it was small, that she could have a heart defect and that they weren't sure if her major organs would grow properly.
I was sent to King's College hospital in London twice (on top of my normal 2 scans at my surgery). I was offered Amniocenteses, but I refused because I said that if my baby had Downs I would not terminate so I didn't need to know about that until my baby was born. I had all the special scans with the doctors specialising in those areas to look at the brain, heart, other organs etc. I wanted to make sure that my baby was going to be able to survive and have some quality of life.

I found other people's views irrelevant at the time because I just felt like it was all on me. There were some who said "Everything will be fine" which made me feel like they were not concidering the reality of what I was possibly facing. There were others could not understand why I refused the Amnio test, because they couldn't understand why I would want a baby with Downs if that was the case; and many other opinions. But ultimately I felt alone, because in the end any decision was down to me, and even though I had to concider my other half it was my body and my choice on action taken. I got to the point where I decided I was done, no matter what they said I would not go for any further tests, scans or apppointments with specialists. I was having my baby end of and she was born perfectly normal. I went through so much stress for nothing because they had to give me all this information about things that 'might' be wrong, but in reality didn't exist in my child. My advice would be to not even read the literature unless they actually see a problem, there's no point worrying over nothing.

posted 1 decade 5 years ago
Thanks for the replies, folks. All I've said is get the better test, book the appointment, but other than that get on with things and really don't worry.

I'm general hugely skeptical of the way things are over-medicalised these days but obviously want to offer the most sensible opinions on things.

GTTkel your post sounds like someone my wife's sister knew - potential problems this, potential problems that, scared half to death, huge stress between her and her husband. Baby was utterly normal!

It's like there's a slim chance of having a bad car crash tomorrow but I'm not worrying about it. It's funny how this medical stuff really manages to invade your brain - especially when it's so early on and there's less to think about other than worrying about how best to reorganise the house!

posted 1 decade 5 years ago
welcome along to the site thedad

am 24 and expecting my first. The spinal bifida and the downsydrome testing they do.....when they asked me if i wanted that i thought about it and told them thanks but no thanks because i would be so worried and totally Angry myself if it came back that theyre may even be a slight chance of my baby having either downs or spinal bifida.

Theres a wife at my work who's 41/42 and shes pregnant aswell. She's already got a child of 15years. I ask her random questions mainly cos shes around 6weeks further on than me and shes been there before. She was saying that because of her age shes getting 4 scans etc. When she said she was pregnant (well i kinda put my foot in it when i mentioned it to her) she was worried alot because of her age but she seems to be doing good though.

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