Pregnancy - baby, doctors, google and percentiles!
Updated: May 13
Potete leggere questo articolo in Italiano qui.
I spent my first 5 months of pregnancy in London. During this period I was looked after by NHS (St. Thomas Hospital). My husband and I decided to have, at the same time, private ultra sounds and check-ups.
What was the difference between the two of them? Well, the main difference was the depth of the explanation provided. Also if there was an issue (even though a minimal) the private clinic would inform you about it, as well as about the probability of having an issue in the future based on ultra sound results. This is my personal opinion based on my experience.
When I was around 20 weeks pregnant I had an ultra sound with NHS and based on the results I booked an appointment with a private clinic for a second opinion. Why? At St. Thomas Hospital, as I was not a high risk patient, my ultra sound was made by an assistant and the explanation received from her regarding the ultra sound was actually inexistent (e.g. your baby is ok and that’s it). Also, the blood tests were incomplete and I couldn’t repeat them (one test missing).
After the NHS ultra sound I did what is not advised to do: I started “asking google” whether the measures related to my baby’s growth were ok. And of course, I found so many things on google which scared me. The “so said” issue was that the baby was not growing that much. The percentile began to decrease (e.g. from 50th percentile to 45th) but the growth was still considered normal. That’s why I believe that NHS didn’t consider this decrease an issue at that point.
Also, I informed the midwives that I had some eye surgeries years before and that I was afraid to give birth naturally because I did not know if there was a risk for my eyes. As in the UK virtually everybody is supposed to give birth naturally, I was informed that there was no risk for my health in giving birth in this way but if I wanted to have check-ups I might have them privately.
So, I booked appointment privately for another ultra sound, and I am glad I did it. During this ultra sound I was informed that my baby was indeed ok. He was small because one valve of the placenta was not working well. I was asked to perform regular check-ups and to take baby aspirin and so I did. Also, I was informed that probably my baby would be considerably small.
When I moved to Italy I had private check-ups with a gynaecologist and I chose to give birth at San Raffaele Hospital (Milano). The Italian doctor confirmed that the baby would be tiny but there was nothing to worry about (😊 he was worried more about my weight than by my baby’s percentile).
The only one worried about the baby was me. Not my husband, nor my mother in law (she is a doctor btw), just me. And I was stressed every time when I had an ultra sound. Why? Because my doctor said that my baby was ok, everything was perfect, he was a bit tiny but there was no issue as he was healthy. Then I asked google again about the measures of the ultra sound and all of a sudden my baby was not ok. I cried all day and night and then I prayed and I tried to be positive.
Trust your feelings, trust your doctor and midwife. Google is not a doctor!
As to the eye surgeries, the Italian doctor asked me to have an eye test and asked the ophthalmologist to declare whether there was a risk in giving birth naturally. He refused to take responsibility for a potential issue. Fortunately there was no risk.
It ended up that:
I gave birth naturally without any issue;
my baby was tiny indeed (2.7 kg and 46 cm) but he was healthy (10 out of 10 APGAR);
since birth to date (now he is 16 months) he is around the 25th percentile in weight and 50th percentile in height .
trust your doctor or midwife, and... google is not a doctor. Read and be informed but know that google is not a doctor;
trust your feelings. If you feel that something is wrong ask your doctor to repeat the test. Or ask for a second opinion. It may be nothing to worry about but it will count much to your serenity.