My doctor has recommended I have an amniocentesis. I’m very scared. What was your experience?
Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: I decided to have an amnio. I was 36 years old when I was pregnant, and my mom had me at age 40. I figured I started from old stock, which probably adds up, chromosonally.
Also, I’m the type of person who believes that more information is better than less. For one thing, if there is to be a problem, the more counseling you can have up front, the better prepared you’ll be. Plus, I think it’s best to know what you’re dealing with. You might need to start preparing for an entirely different journey than the one you set out on. It’s very hard if you’re packed up for one vacation and end up going somewhere else.
Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: Because I was over age 35, during my second pregnancy, I had an amniocentesis. Also the doctors had seen some markers on my ultrasound that were concerning.
There are certainly risks involved in an amniocentesis. Plus, if you receive bad news, what will you do? But I believe that you have to trust that you’re having the test for good reasons. I don’t think my husband and I would have had the test done if I hadn’t had those concerning markers on my ultrasound. But we chose to do the test because if something was indeed wrong, we wanted to have the information as early as possible, instead of waiting until the baby was born.
The amnio wasn’t as painful for me as you might have heard. It felt like a bee sting when the needle went in. I also felt quite crampy during the procedure and for a little while afterward.
Thank goodness I had worked the night shift the night prior my test, so I had that whole day off. (I don’t think women necessarily need to take the day off after the procedure. I had just been up the night before and didn’t want to have to go back to work.) After we got the results that the baby was healthy, it was a huge relief.
—Janet Lefkowitz, DO, a mother of two girls and an ob/gyn in private practice in Rhode Island