My pregnancy has been an easy one. No morningsickness, more than ample weight gain, minimal aches and pains and good rest. Yet as my husband, Peter, and I walked into the doctor’s office for our first prenatal appointment, I said, “I am dreading this visit.”
Our daughter, who is now 4½, has Down syndrome. She was born when I was 28. Although there is no known cause for Down syndrome (the presence of an extra 21st chromosome), as soon as I conceived Penny, my chances of having another baby with Down syndrome increased significantly, from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 100. Those chances only increase further as I age.
But my dread as I walked into the doctor’s office didn’t come from the thought that this new baby might have an extra chromosome. My dread arose from the prospect of talking to a doctor about prenatal testing. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends prenatal screening for Down syndrome for all pregnant women, regardless of age. Screening tests can include an ultrasound to measure aspects of the baby’s anatomy and blood tests to measure hormone levels in the mother. These tests accurately identify babies with Down syndrome 85 percent to 90 percenty of the time.
Read more here: Deciding Not to Screen for Down Syndrome – NYTimes.com.