Too Much Information Isn’t Good for Pregnant Women

pregnantMy father cannot get over 4-D sonograms. Seriously. He's more amazed by the technology of them than the granddaughter I have growing inside my belly. "When your mom was pregnant, we could only hear the heartbeat," he tells me. "We couldn't see a thing. And the doctor smoked while we were in the room."

The first time he told me about "how it was" being pregnant back in the '70s, I thought, "God, that must have sucked." I mean, there isn't a single thing pregnant women don't know about now, should they so choose. We can tell the sex right away with a blood test. We know the odds of our babies being born with or without disease. And we can pretty much see exactly what our child is going to look like when they're brought into the world (if we can picture them sans all the goo). But, sometimes, particularly when you're a highly-sensitive, kind-of-freaked-out mom-to-be, less is more.

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When I got the results to my nuchal translucency, everything was normal. Well, that's what it said. Next to all these hard-to-understand letters and numbers were the easy-to-understand words, "Within normal range." "Great," I thought. But then I talked to the doctor.

She told me that, despite everything being fine and normal and great, my odds for having a child with Down's were "a bit higher than they should be for someone my age." "But everything's fine and normal," she reassured me.

I had never given much thought to not having a perfectly healthy child. It wasn't even in my frame of consciousness. I knew if my husband and I were to have a baby with Down's, we would deal with it, and love our baby no less, just as all other parents do. But still. I started Googling.

As with most things that come up on Google, I stumbled upon horror story after horror story. I tried to make sense of all the numbers and letters that were written on the paper my doc sent me along with, but I didn't totally get it, which, in turn, made me Google more. After weeks of secretive Internet searches (my husband was getting pissed), I finally convinced myself that either I, or my unborn child, was going to die. And despite this notion, I still declined the CVS my doc offered "for anxiety" in favor of sticking to what I do best -- panicking.

When I went back a few weeks later, for a more in-depth test, everything turned up "totally fine" again, except even more fine than before. I definitely wasn't going to die. Neither was baby. And we were both totally healthy. My panicking and stressing and psychotic Googling were for naught.

I'm incredibly grateful for all the medical advances that have been made, really I am. For the most part, I feel completely safe in the hands I'm in, and God forbid, if anything were to go wrong, I feel like there are enough tests, probes, and mechanisms to rectify the situation. But, I don't know, sometimes I feel like there's too much information -- and not just from Google, from our doctors, also. Despite my liking to be in control of situations and totally in the know, I'm not quite sure I needed all the facts and numbers of my nuchal screening. I think a simple "within range" would have sufficed. But that's just me.

Do you think there's too much information available for pregnant women? Have you ever worked yourself up into a tizzy via Google or a test result?

 

Image via dizznbon/Flickr

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