Importance of prenatal tests

Parentree-editors 2008-08-28 00:07:45

It’s important to take all your prenatal tests on time!

Doctors have standard protocols on prenatal testing and will keep you informed which tests to take and when.  It is important that you take the tests on time, when the doctors tell so that you and your doctor have adequate time to take action.

If the results are unfavourable, you might need to be treated in a timely manner or take further tests which are also time-bound or make some tough and timely decisions (for example, if a test detects major abnormalities in the foetus and you might even need to contemplate an abortion by the legal limit of 20 weeks into pregnancy).

After the Mehta abortion case1 hit the headlines in August 8, doctors and hospitals have seen a sudden rise in pregnant couples clamouring for “scans” or ultrasounds. One of the things this case underscores is how important it is to get these tests done on time. For example, the “anomaly scan” (the second ultrasound) would have pointed out the congenital heart defect in the Mehta baby.  This anomaly scan detects foetal problems only by 18 weeks and should you have a major problem and want to resort to abortion, you will have a tight window of only 2 weeks or less to decide and go in for an abortion (According to Indian law, abortion is not allowed for a fetus older than 20 weeks).

Finding out that about an abnormal baby is devastating for parents and making decision about abortion is difficult as it is. But not taking the test on time and not acting fast enough can make matters worse.

Footnotes

1. The Mehta abortion case background - The Mehtas (a Mumbai couple) pleaded the Mumbai High Court for permission to abort their 26 week old foetus which has a congenital heart defect. Indian law states that abortion is allowed only for women who are pregnant for 20 weeks or less. The court refused to grant abortion. This case has stirred a big abortion, law, women's rights, and medical ethics related debate in the media and the public. Mrs. Mehta suffered a miscarriage a couple of weeks after the court ruling.


 

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