Until January of 2006, the professional thinking was only pregnant women who were 35 and older should get first trimester tests done. That thinking has changed. In this Avera Medical Minute, we talked to an expecting mother in Flandreau and her OB/GYN in Sioux Falls who swear by the sequential test.
32 year old Laura Peters teaches math and language arts to 7th graders in Flandreau. As if teaching middle schoolers wasn't stressful enough, she is pregnant with her third child and is considered high risk.
Laura says, "My first pregnancy resulted in loss of twins. At 17 weeks I lost the first one, then at 20 weeks I lost the 2nd one."
She went on to have two healthy little boys, (Braden 5 and Kolby 3) but both were difficult pregnancies. Early on she was in and out of the hospital and almost lost Braden, she had a cervical cerclage at 14 weeks for Kolby and this baby. But the American College of Gynecology and Obstetrics changed it's recommendations since this latest pregnancy and Laura was able to get first trimester testing done. Her OB/GYN Dr. Naomi Wahl with Avera Maternal and Fetal Medicine encourages it for all her patients, high risk or not.
Dr. Wahl says, "We believe doing sequential test because it offers the safest test for patients lowest false positive rate and also will let these patients at high risk know early on if their baby is at risk. It involves measuring the thickness of the babies neck and measuring two chemical markers in the blood giving them the risk of a baby with down syndrome or trisomy 18, heart defect and other problems."
For Laura it wasn't the results of those first sequential tests that mattered, but the time it provided her and her husband, Doug, to prepare for what might be ahead.
Laura says, "It was such a relief when the tests came back because when you are a high risk O.B. patient anyway, you take it one day at a time and at night you thank the Lord he brought you one day closer to your do date. So anything you do to relieve that anxiety, relieve that stress was so helpful."
Laura's tests did come back negative for any abnormalities and she says they were totally painless. It included an ultrasound and 2 blood tests. She is due on May 15th and we are crossing our fingers everything turns out perfectly.
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