Skipping. . . um, everything

11 June 2011 at 1:15 pm 1 comment

So, I’m seeing my homebirth midwife every four weeks at this point in my pregnancy (just into the second trimester now) and at our last appointment she confirmed that I wanted to skip what lots of people call the “big” ultrasound–the anatomy scan at about 20 weeks. I said yes, as I had with my first child, and didn’t think more about it until later I realized that in opting for a very low-intervention pregnancy and birth, I’m “skipping” (or opting out of) almost everything that people in the US today think of when they think of pre-natal care.

One doesn’t have to, of course; homebirth midwives are usually happy to help you arrange for an ultrasound if you want one, and some women deliberately do “back-up care” (officially or unofficially) with their CNM or OB, having all the typical scans and tests with them. For me, though, I wasn’t sure of the point or the benefits, and I would rather trust my body and my midwife and just see how things progress.

What about you? What do you “skip”?

–Christina

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Happy Mommy’s Day! Amazing work, mama!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jessica  |  12 June 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I would probably go with one scan- I’m not sure when, though- I’d have to think about that. It probably wouldn’t have to follow the ‘routine’ timeline because it wouldn’t be for the same purpose. I might ask for only certain measurements to be taken to decrease the length of time of the scan, or maybe use it just to get a confirmed edd (which I had been told had to be done between a certain early time parameter)..
    I did have one with my 2nd- when I was truly planning a low intervention birth. I was thinking of skipping it and knew I had that option. I debated this for a while and decided primarily that I knew nothing would turn up- but it would document a healthy baby. It did reveal a very healthy baby who’s gender to me remained a secret, but it also showed I had a low lying placenta which would almost definitely move nicely out of the way. The follow up rec was to wait to the last normally scheduled routine ultrasound (I really don’t remember when that was maybe 30+ weeks), and I very much considered skipping that one- (it did show all was fine). There was no ‘drama’ around this, but there could have been– otoh, if I had started to have mild bleeding, etc. knowing that i had this would have probably eased my mind a little.
    So, even though I really only wanted 1 scan, and reluctantly at that, it did bring a scenario where I ended up with a 2nd unwanted scan.

    As I mentioned, the reason I opted for the ultrasound was because I was still debating home birth and i thought a healthy scan would further back up the fact that I WAS having a low-risk birth. I wanted to have the scan as a resource – after all if the scan revealed a normal developing baby- there certainly are some things that we don’t have to worry about. I also thought it might relieve some of my concerns my husband had.
    To decide again, I’d have to research more and decide which rare problems might actually go undetected w/o the ultrasound and balance the pro/cons. From my understanding, it could also be helpful if you are unsure about your dates to have the ultrasound to have a date ‘on file’ and if you end up getting some pressure towards the end/going over. Of course, planning might help with that, but we were very lucky the 2nd time around and hadn’t really planned on trying for a 2nd- decided we were going to and got pregnant very (and I mean very) fast. I had not been charting at all, in fact had forgotten to write things down a lot and by the time I figured out I was definitely pregnant had no idea date wise- I have very irregular cycles, etc. .
    So my daughter was either 5 days post date or 15 days past depending on things and I’m lucky I hadn’t had a provider thinking she was 15 days past because I would have been facing a lot more pressure. Obviously, it depends on who your provider is, how much pressure they might put on dates- but I can see this being a reason to consider for some.

    So, all in all, I think it is a really tricky one, with some good and bad things- and possible something unexpected coming up (false scans, etc.) . I think it could be more useful for a person that might anticipate a hospital pushing things at the end or to reassure fears of any abnormality (again, not sure exactly how rare something that a midwife wouldn’t detect would be).
    I’m curious if there are ways then to lesson the impact of ultrasound and/or only take certain measurements to fit what info you want out of it (for example if you chart and know the dates, then you might need fewer measurements).

    Reply

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