Talking to Your Healthcare Provider about Prenatal Testing
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about your personal risk factors and/or experience with prenatal testing. By talking openly and regularly with your healthcare provider, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your healthcare provider:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask to have information written down or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider
About Prenatal Testing
- Based on my age, family history and medical history, is prenatal testing right for me?
- Which test or tests should I have?
- What do the different tests measure?
- How reliable are the different tests?
- What are my options if a test indicates there is a problem?
About Each Test
- How accurate is the test?
- How long before I get the results?
- What do you hope to learn from this test?
- Is the procedure painful?
- Is the procedure dangerous to me or the fetus?
- What are the risks?
- Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
- What will happen if I do not do this test?
- How much will the test cost?
- Is the test covered by insurance?
- What do I need to do to prepare for the test?
- What are my options if the test indicates there is a problem?
- Do you recommend that I have this test?
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Diagnosing birth defects [pamphlet]. April 2005:AP164.
Prenatal tests. Nemours Foundation. KidsHealth website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/medical/prenatal_tests.html . Accessed August 24, 2005.
Last reviewed June 2007 by ]]>Ganson Purcell Jr., MD, FACOG, FACPE]]>
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