Natural Pregnancy — Prenatal Testing

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Alcohol & Fetal White Matter, Steroids and Prematurity & Fetal DNA Testing 1

Drinking While Pregnant Damages Fetal Brain White Matter We all know that drinking and pregnancy don't mix. We generally contend that a glass of wine with a meal is fine but getting buzzed or drinking heavily is a huge no- no. It is so dangerous that most doctors and health care professionals simply make a blanket statement to err on the side of caution and avoid all alcohol while pregnant. A study published online on Dec. 19 and in the March print issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research found that prenatal alcohol exposure is associated with altered white-matter integrity. According to the washingtonpost.com "The brain's white matter is made up of nerve bundles that transfer information between brain regions," study corresponding author Susanna L. Fryer, a researcher at San Diego State University's Center for Behavioral Teratology, said in a news release. "Optimal white-matter integrity is thought to support efficient cognition. So, the finding that prenatal alcohol exposure is associated with altered white-matter integrity may help explain aspects of the cognitive and behavioral problems that individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) commonly face," she said. "The brains of individuals with FASDs showed evidence of altered nerve fiber integrity at a microstructural level, even though total brain size was statistically equivalent between alcohol-exposed and comparison participants," Fryer said. Women at risk for premature births only need one round of steroid shots, study finds. Thousands of women at high risk for preterm birth receive steroid shots which speed fetal blood vessel and lung development. This can help prevent breathing problems, brain bleeds and even newborn death. According to Reuters.uk: "..a study of 1,858 women in 20 countries, published in the Lancet medical journal on Thursday, showed that additional injections every 14 days did not improve the health of the babies and actually resulted in smaller babies. 'The key findings from our study were that there was no benefit (from the repeated courses of injections) and therefore that repeated doses should not be used,' Dr. Kellie Murphy of the University of Toronto and Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, who led the study, said in a telephone interview." U.S. Government and Baylor in cahoots to test fetal DNA Baylor College of Medicine is offering a service to test fetal DNA for about 200 rare genetic syndromes, most involving mental retardation. There is no treatment for these conditions in utero and no treatment available after birth. The idea behind the screening then, is to allow the parents the option of terminating the pregnancy as 80-95% of expectant parents do when faced with a Down's Syndrome diagnosis in utero. The implications are heartbreaking and of course we at A Much Better Way are appalled that anyone could terminate a Down's baby because they are of course as important and wonderful as everyone else. In addition to the ethical, eugenics side of the coin, we have to wonder if why the U.S. Government would sponsor such a study? We believe it is in an effort to collect fetal DNA (not because they are suddenly concerned with the incidence of these 200 rare syndromes.) Perhaps the current DNA collection via newborn PKU testing is not working out for them.

Prenatal Testing and Ultrasound 0

prenatal testing and ultrasoundAuthor: Mandy Robinson With advances in technology, even if there was a problem with the prenatal development of your baby, doctors are able to respond sooner. This is all made possible due to technologies such as prenatal testing and ultrasound. It is a common misconception that pregnancy testing takes place only once, at the beginning of your pregnancy. Nothing could be further from the truth - from ultrasounds to blood tests, you will be bombarded with test after test up until even the very morning of your delivery date. 1. Primary Testing Quite a lot of blood work is performed initially for various reasons including whether you are Rh negative or positive, your immunity to viruses such as rubella, and whether you have a more serious condition such as hepatitis B, or HIV. At this initial visit you will also receive a physical and internal examination to check your capability for giving birth, and if necessary, a PAP smear. 2. Ultrasound Ultrasound, unfortunately, is not merely a tool that allows the mother to see her child before it is born, or to determine the sex of the child prior to childbirth. The real purpose of an ultrasound is to detect fetal development problems in advance or to pinpoint potential delivery problems such as placenta previa. Don't worry, however, this is actually a routine procedure carried out at 18 weeks for all pregnant women. Ultrasounds can:
  • Determine early the gender of the baby
  • Measure the placenta
  • Check embryonic fluid composition
  • Ensure the umbilical cord is not causing any complications
  • Ensure there is no internal bleeding
3. Gestational Diabetes Testing for gestational diabetes is carried out on all pregnant women during their second trimester. This primarily involves fasting until the test, then drinking a special glucose drink, waiting a specified period of time and then checking the blood sugar level with a simple finger prick blood test. If the blood sugar levels are off the charts then you will have to go for additional blood testing at a later date. 4. Amniocentesis You are only eligible for this level of testing if you are over 35 years of age or if you have a medical history in your family such as Down's syndrome. Usually carried out between 14 and 20 weeks of pregnancy, there is a slight risk of miscarriage as a result of this test so it is not compulsory. 5. Chorionic Villus Sampling The most feared and invasive of all pregnancy tests, this is an exhausting test for a woman to endure. Carried out between weeks 10 and 13 of pregnancy. This test is only carried out when there is an absolutely urgent need to determine the health status of the baby. About the author: For more great pregnancy related articles and resources check out great-pregnancy.info Sheryl's comment: Please do not assume that just because these tests are routine that they are safe. They are certainly not natural. If you love your child with your whole heart and there is no way you would terminate your pregnancy despite Down's syndrome or some other condition, then refuse the CVS or the amniocentisis (unless you are really concerned about your OBGYN's Mercedes payment).   Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/sunshinedays/400372857/