Back when I was expecting my first child, I did my routine prenatal care the routine way. When you're walking in new territory, it's comforting to follow a map. But I've started to say "no" a whole lot more to different tests and approaches, and believe it or not, it's pretty common and completely your right.
The first thing I deny is the genetic screening test. I do this for two reasons, the first being that the tests result in false positives up to 50% of the time [read more here}. which opens the door to more needless testing. The second reason is that genetic deformities wouldn't cause me to terminate the pregnancy, as they may offer. Instead, I reason with the doctor that if there's something seriously wrong, it would show on the 20 week anatomy scan and then we could plan the delivery in a well equipped facility accordingly.
But, you might also be surprised that you can deny the 20 week ultrasound as well. We opt to go for it simply to find out the gender, which they've gotten wrong once and are currently unsure of because of the babies legs, but I still prefer to have the ultrasound done. The reason some deny it is that there's the very real chance the ultrasound shows a choroid plexus cyst .. sounds alarming right?? But it shows up in roughly 20% of perfectly healthy babies and causes the doctors to want to monitor more in the slim chance the cerebral cyst is a marker for down syndrome. I've had one show up 2x now. The first time, I went through additional ultrasounds to confirm everything was fine, and the second time I said "no."
The next thing I say no to is traditional glucose testing. That orange glucola is loaded with dye and high fructose corn syrup that I would never put in my body, so why would I expose my baby to that and see what happens? Instead, I opt to ingest the same 50 mg of sugar in forms that I might actually indulge in. There are many different ways to ingest it, talk with your provider about what they'd prefer, but I ended up drinking 8 ounces of juice [not from concentrate] and 14 natural gummies in a minute to reach the 50 mg of sugar (this site has some great alternate ideas). I felt that sugar rush and dizziness, but thankfully passed the test with flying colors!
Once you reach 30 weeks, many providers bring you in for appointments every 2 weeks, we'll, I say how about 3 weeks? If everything is routine, shleping my crew to the doctors 45 minutes away for a 5 minute check is a ridiculous task, but many will agree to a more lenient schedule from 30-36 weeks by seeing you twice instead of three times.
Finally, when the big day comes, I refuse internal checks during labor. Some hospitals require them to be admitted to the labor and delivery room, which I'm ok with. They need to know your body is really making some progress, but once inside I say "no thank you" to any additional checks. New research is showing that multiple checks in a routine labor can increase the baby's exposure to harmful bacteria and certainly isn't fun for a laboring mom. Now, if there was a serious concern about labor not progressing, I'd certainly allow a check, but gone are the days of mandatory 1 hour cervix checks for this mama!
Make sure to check with your hospital or midwife to hear about their individual policies! Just as you have the right to say no to them, they also can say no to you. Then, keep looking for a practice that's a better fit... I've been to 4 this pregnancy :)
What kind of things have you spoken up and said no to during your pregnancies and births? Share in the comments below!
Is a wife, mother of four, author of Re:Birth, and lover of afternoon naps.