I’m halfway there, so I’m going to bore and offend people by making a few comments about being an older mom. If you are over 35, you are encouraged to take an AFP test. This is a simple blood test that tells you if you are at an increased risk for serious problems with your baby. The problem with this test is that besides the results being affected by the baby’s health, the test also “dates your blood” so, if you are over 35 you are guaranteed to get red-flagged results. Doesn’t that make the test pointless for women over 35? Skip ahead to the recommended step for women who test increased risk. The next thing recommended is an amniocentesis. This is an invasive test that gives a lot of very accurate information. What do the medical professionals do with this information? They tell you to choose if you want to have this baby. Why do I need a dangerous test to know if I want this baby? So, I said no thank you to the AFP and I was informed that I needed to sign a form that I was refusing the test. Next comes the ultrasound. This is not my first child so I fully recognize the difference between my first ultrasound and the one I just had done. First ultrasound is sweet and educational, “there are his toes and look at how well he can move around right now”. Older moms get an ultrasound more like this: “Ok, I don’t see any thickening at the base of the skull and his palate looks intact. Let’s check his organs.”

The point of all this is that I am left feeling more than a little paranoid and anxious. I can only imagine the guilt and pressure that is heaped upon moms over 40.

13 thoughts on “110503495824727568

  1. AFP’s have such a high false positive rate a lot of doctors are going away from doing them. I agree with your choices.

  2. Don’t feel paranoid or anxious. Amy was over 35 when she delivered our third baby, and underwent the same tests, heard the same scary terms, and so forth and so on. Bottom line, you want to know all this stuff ahead of time so that your mind will be at ease and knowing is always so much better than not knowing. Better to be cautious and careful, and remember they’re just looking out for your baby.

  3. Don’t let a “CYA” legal form cause you undue stress. The baby will pick up on your internal stress and be affected by that more than he will anything else. You are healthy, and your baby will be, too. And like you said, what are you going to do anyway? Not have him? No.

  4. Humm..as someone who’s had an abnormal AFP and 3 amniocentisis, there is something to be said for being prepared for surgeries, little wheelchairs & leg braces. My son has spina bifida and I cannot imagine NOT knowing beforehand. At least if you have it and the tests are normal, you know that you have nothing to worry about. I had a good pregnancy even though I had to deal with a lot emotionally. Being prepared was much better than finding out you have a child with a disability at birth, leaving it in the NICU for a month while you go home, and not holding him for the first time until he’s 2 weeks old. Something to think about…but that’s my personal experience. I’d take the test again in a heartbeat. It’s not about an abortion…it’s about putting your mind at ease or becoming prepared if there is something to worry about.

  5. I had my last baby at 36 and refused all the extra tests as well. It really isn’t worth the stress. Just enjoy the next few months…. this is the easiest part of motherhood!

  6. i’m going to be 34 on or around my wedding day ( depending on the date! ) and this rings true for me too…as i intend to BE a mom 🙂

  7. I’m over 35 too (although I was still 34 when I got pregnant). I hate the fact that we’re automatically called “high risk” when there are studies that show it’s not really age that determines risk but health. And now that I know it’s twins, there is even more pressure for even more expensive testing.

    When I first found out I was pregnant, I think there was a chance that, given certain test results, I might choose to not have the baby. But now, after 16 weeks and getting huge already cause of twins and bonding and everything, I don’t think I would do anything even if the tests were bad. And they can tell a lot with sonograms, even as early as 12 weeks, if you have a skilled tech. And a lot has to do with your genetic history too. Since you have other healthy babies, I think that means a lot more than a test that gets more disreputable every day. Plus, high AFP results also can mean you’ve had a cat in your life at some point, and maybe years ago you had toxo. It won’t affect you or your babies unless you get it NOW. Which, if you’ve had it before, you won’t. So. Why the tests? Money money money.

  8. My wife (34 y.o.) had an abnormal AFP with our twins. Of course we weren’t going to risk miscarriage of 2 babies for the amnio. We tried to put it out of our minds, but I think we both worried to death until we saw both of them perfect and healthy. We would never get the AFP if she got pregnant again.

  9. Whether you have the amnio or not is completely up to you, after 40 they put alot of pressure on you to get one. Really if you would’t terminate anyways, what is the point of the amnio? Keep your chin up and don’t let it get to you.

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