I’m lumping these weeks together because they all kind of just run together anyway. This early in my pregnancy I still wasn’t having many symptoms and was feeling pretty good. But I learned about the coolest new prenatal genetic testing that I’ve been telling pretty much everyone I’ve ever met about because I think it’s so freaking amazing!
This stuff is groundbreaking. Like, a real game-changer. Okay enough build-up, here it is!
…And maybe by now, you’re heard of it and this is old news, but I still think it’s really cool and worth getting out there so it becomes commonplace.
Okay, you’re probably going crazy right now, here it is!
It’s called the Panorama Blood Test. Essentially doctors, researchers, scientists, (whoever) figured out that when a woman is pregnant, the fetus’ DNA can be extracted from the mother’s blood. That means that a simple blood test is all that’s required to test for genetic defects and even the baby’s gender. No more sticking a huge needle through the amniotic sac, which threatens the baby’s life and isn’t even very accurate. In my book, the less-invasive the test, the better. That kind of seems to be the trend in medicine these days, to find alternatives for the more invasive tests that are just as effective if not more. I’m sure more people would be screened for diseases if the tests weren’t so intimidating.
With this test, you can find out the gender of your baby at 9 weeks. 9 WEEKS! For me, that was the appeal of having this test done. Since we were moving across the country, I wanted to know the gender of this baby ASAP so I could either plan to pack and move all of my girl stuff or sell/give it away to make the move lighter and start saving for baby boy stuff.
I wanted this test. As I started researching it, I really couldn’t find much about it online (this was back in January). I hadn’t heard of it when I was pregnant with my daughter in 2012 and hadn’t heard of anyone else having it done. It became a more common thing in 2013, apparently. I asked my doctor about it and he hadn’t even heard of it. Well, a friend of mine who had it done lived in the same county as me, so I asked her about it and gathered as much info as I could from her. My doctor (who is the best OBGYN in the entire world by the way) said he could order out any test and to just get the details about the lab that performs the test. I called several labs at several hospitals to find out who does the test and, more importantly, if my insurance would cover it.
As it turns out, the lab that processed my blood work and other standard prenatal tests also processed this test, but they send those specific tests to another lab that does more of them and is more set-up to do them or something. Whatever, I was just relieved to find that someone had heard of it and it could be done. But the lab told me I needed to call my insurance company and make sure they covered the test, which had two options: the basic test which cost around $1800 before insurance, or the more extensive test (I’m not sure what was more extensive about it) that would cost around $2400 before insurance. Yikes.
Okay, next step was to call the insurance company. I had all the special names and codes for the test from the lab, but I was still shuffled around from department to department. So frustrating. Finally, I reached someone who could look up the test and tell me that my plan DID cover it, but only in the case of a pre-existing condition or under special medical circumstances to warrant my doctor ordering of the test. Basically, I probably couldn’t get the test just to find out the gender of the baby.
I was a bit torn. On one hand, I did have a high-risk pregnancy with my daughter and I thought my doctor would probably order the test because of that. She didn’t have any genetic issues but I figured it’d be enough to have the test ordered. On the other hand, I felt a bit guilty going to all of that trouble just to find out the gender of my baby a few weeks early. I’m usually a proponent of simplicity and minimalism and was feeling that maybe this test might be unnecessary and at a high cost.
I decided not to pursue the test and to just wait until I was 16 weeks to have a gender-check ultrasound. As cool and revolutionary as the test was, and as excited as I was to have it done this pregnancy, I wish it were more accessible and commonplace. It didn’t feel right having my test take up space and time among the other tests from parents with legitimate concerns. But I hope that this test becomes commonplace and more accessible.
For me, knowing the gender as early as possible (because I hate waiting and surprises) was the biggest benefit, because even positive results for a genetic disease wouldn’t change our excitement. But knowing and being able to prepare for a baby who would require extra care, or wouldn’t survive the pregnancy, would also prepare us for any complications we could face.
Technology is amazing and exciting. I just love hearing about these breakthroughs that make pregnancy and parenthood easier and safer. We live in an incredible time and really do get to be a part of history with all of these discoveries and inventions. It makes me so curious and excited to see what the future holds. Someday I’ll look back on things like this prenatal test, touch-screen phones, and Olive Garden online to-go ordering and think “wow, how did we get by?”
Have you heard of the Panorama test, or had it done? What are your thoughts on the test? Are there any other super-cool tests or discoveries that have BLOWN your mind? Share with me below!
Pregnancypregnancy week by weekprenatal testing
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Angela graduated with her B.S. in Exercise and Wellness and is a NASM certified personal trainer who specializes in postpartum fitness and recovery. She enjoys writing, cracking jokes, and spending time with her family, preferably while fishing. She shares many of her life adventures on Instagram as __angelasilva__