Getting on my soap box

Saturday, August 28, 2010
*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor have I been to medical school. I have no knowledge concerning the field of medicine. These are only my opinions based solely on my personal experiences.

Last night, my sisters and some of her friends were sitting around (passing the blood pressure cuff) and talking about pregnancy.  Two of us in the room have experienced  loss, one is on clomid trying to get pregnant, one is pregnant and the other plans on waiting awhile. The conversation at one point led to my blood clotting disorder, MTHFR. Why is it doctors do not test for this until after 2 or 3 losses or a stillbirth? If there are precautions that can be taken, why would you risk your patient losing their babies before asking for a simple blood test?

Girls, we have to take charge of our own health. If I can help one person out there then it will all be worth it. So, please at least consider what I have to say.

If you are planning on ever getting pregnant (and this includes teenagers) or if you're a mom and have a daughter(s), then there are some simple things you can do now.

1. Start taking prenatal vitamins NOW. What can it hurt? If you don't want to take a prenatal, simply take a multi-vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid.  The March of Dimes actually recommends all women take prenatals before trying to conceive. This allows your body to build up plenty of folic acid. The folic acid can help prevent neural tube defects and also, according to the March of Dimes, only works if you take it before getting pregnant and in the first few weeks of pregnancy.  So if you're deficient because of MTHFR and you haven't been taking prenatals, you're already off to a bad start, which I was.

2. If you're planning on trying to conceive (ttc), then talk with your OB about being tested for blood clotting disorders. There are several - antiphospholipid syndrome, MTHFR, Factor II, Factor V Leiden, etc.  If you have one of these, then your doc will more than likely suggest you start taking baby aspirin and extra folic acid (if needed).

3. If you are already pregnant, immediately call your OB to set up a prenatal appointment and ask to be tested for blood clotting disorders, especially if you have a family history (like my sisters). Should you have one, then you'll know you need the baby aspirin, folic acid (if needed) and lovenox shots. According to my perinatologists, the sooner you begin the shots, baby aspirin and folic acid (if needed), the better.

Hopefully, you don't have one of these disorders. However, if you do, by demanding these tests early on you could save the life of your baby.  Granted, this science and the research behind it is still in its infancy.  You may run across some doctors that don't agree with this. My OB told me that my own peri's are split on the issue. But if there is something you can do to make sure you have a healthy baby, wouldn't you do it?

I unfortunately have more to deal with than  MTHFR. The preeclampsia/hellp syndrome more than likely isn't affected by the MTHFR, so my risk is still very, very high. However, had I known about the MTHFR and taken the above precautions, just maybe my Josey would have been a healthy 25 weeker and could have survived.

So, take your vitamins ladies and make sure to talk with your OBs and get tested! :)

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6 comments

  1. Unfortunately, I really don't think *any* ob will test for clotting disorders just because you ask for one. The insurance companies probably won't cover it (a lot of them won't even it cover it after a pre-e/HELLP pregnancy, much less before pregnancy for a person without any issues). I don't disagree with you, I just don't think it's realistic to expect it with the current medical practices and standards. (I'm not saying it shouldn't be part of the practice, I'm saying it isn't, and I worry people will change ob's to try to find one who will test it, only to find that no one will.)

    Once you are pregnant, blood clotting disorder tests are invalid. They also aren't valid if they are tested within 6 weeks postpartum, because pregnancy hormones can and do affect the results, so if you were tested while you were pregnant or in the postpartum time period, you should be re-tested.

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  2. And great advice about vitamins! I totally agree with you there!

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  3. I was tested twice...while I was pregnant and 6 weeks post. My peri is one of the top researchers in the field and he consulted with THE top guru as well. If they tested me while I was preggo, there had to be a reason. BUT, I was tested again. My insurance had no problem with it. If you're willing to pay for it, I don't see why your doctor wouldn't test you, especially if you have may have a family history of it.

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  4. After 3 miscarriages, when I became pregnant this time, they decided to start testing for everything under the sun. That is how they found out that I had Factor Leiden V, and while it more than likely wasn't related to my losses, it could have easily led to losing this one. And because of my diagnosis, my sisters (who will be TTC soon) requested to be tested (both were positive) as well as my mom.

    Unfortunately, blood clotting disorders do not usually have side effects until it may be too late. They affect us in more ways than just conception and with how widely available treatment and testing both are, I do not understand how it is not done at a much early age as a part of preventative medicine. I can only imagine that finding out early in life, treating with baby aspirin, heparin or lovenox is less expensive in the long run than treating for multiple miscarriages and their complications, strokes, clots and the like.

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  5. While I dont disagree with you being in the medical field. I think simple is better than over complicated our Mothers did not worry about such things just got pregnant and had the baby. I feel they would not test for this before getting pregnant I can see with your finding now how you feel.
    Even if you did know and still got pregnant you would still go on and hope for the best that is all we can ask for I hope one day you can have the baby you want. Whether your own or adoptive it will be yours and yours only so you do what is right for you. Take care.

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  6. love, LOVE your new look!!!!

    you are right! sometimes i wish drs (and insurance companies and politicians!) could look at it from our perspective..... :)

    how's the adoption process going?

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