Two types of procedures are available to pregnant women: screening tests and diagnostic tests. The screening tests estimate the risk of the baby having Down syndrome. Diagnostic tests tell whether or not the baby actually has Down syndrome. (www.nads.org)
I declined every optional test while pregnant with all 3 of my children. For me, it made sense. But, not every woman is like me. That’s why these tests exist.
I knew I was at a higher risk for birth defects when I got pregnant with my youngest, Willow. I was 35. My ob called it a “geriatric pregnancy.” Still, I declined all the added tests offered to me.
A prenatal diagnosis would have only caused me worry, especially since my husband and I were set on having a third child. Had I known Willow had Down syndrome, I would have spent my entire pregnancy researching, crying and probably praying for a miracle.
I wouldn’t have recognized that Willow IS the miracle, extra 21st chromosome and all.
For me, declining those tests was the right decision. But, I know some mothers-to-be need those answers and need time to prepare. Screening and diagnostic testing can be helpful or hurtful, it’s a matter of perspective. Those tests also aren’t foolproof. False positives and false negatives happen all the time.
One final thought: If you or someone you know is facing a positive diagnosis at the time, please don’t let the negatives win. Down syndrome does not have to be scary, in fact, for me and my family, it’s been a big positive!