The Perils of being a Google Doctor

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Its been an interesting 24 hours.  After pushing the consultant to confirm a date for the C-Section back in June a big red circle was put around the 28th October.  The thickness of the calendar has been slowly diminishing since then as we tear off the pages of the months as they crept by. We are now on the last page.

So it’s with impeccable timing that NICE (That’s the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence) published CG129 containing new guidance on multiple pregnancies. We are in no way shape or form health professionals and so this sort of thing is new to us.

The seemingly never ending stream of government and NHS proclamations on health issues is bewildering at the best of times but like all parents we now have to contend with the fact that our decisions are not about ourselves!  This is taking some getting used to.

The new hot off the press guidance is that women with identical twin pregnancies should be “offered an elective birth at 36 weeks”.  K is of course booked in at 37 weeks. It’s an anxious time at the moment anyway so this has not exactly helped matters. Only one thing for it: Google!

A few clicks later and the 38 page pdf has been downloaded. So the guidance says “Inform women with uncomplicated (Tick) monochorionic (Tick) pregnancies that elective birth from 36 weeks does not appear (hardly a concrete statement) to be associated with an increased risk of serious adverse outcomes (that covers a lot of ground!) and that continuing twin pregnancies beyond 38 weeks increases the risk of fetal death (What! Say that again! Now that’s got our attention!)

So by implication you can read this as “Women should be offered an elective birth at 36 weeks because the longer you leave it the more chance there is of very bad things happening”. Get your coat and bag Mrs B we are off to the hospital!!!

But it doesn’t say this does it. Of course not. But on reading the explosive words fetal death (words hard enough to type yet alone think about) the brain starts looking for the car keys and checking that there is enough fuel in the tank!

The important thing we have to try to remember is that the guidance wasn’t meant for us at all.  It was written by and for health professionals not Google Doctors like ourselves. The age of free information comes at a price. It’s not that ignorance is bliss but more that knowledge can be a burden.  I’d rather be aware of the facts but I have to say on this occasion it has added to the stress a little.

The only thing to do of course is call the hospital and to try to speak to the consultant looking after K and to introduce some much needed experience and expertise into the mix as well as an in-depth knowledge of her particular case.  This you can’t find on Google……yet!

The problem with this is that Google does one thing very well, much better than the NHS in fact. It delivers a lot (probably too much) information very very quickly. In 0.125 sec on this occasions! In fairness no one can compete with that.  So far we are up to 4 hours and I suspect the final count will be in days.

Now despite all this I have to say that our state of anxiety is dropping back down to normal levels. At this stage what will be will be. The two people who we know have not read CG129 are happy in their mothers tummy at the moment and for all we know they are plotting their escape for tomorrow morning!

As the three little ones get older no doubt we will continue in our googling doctor ways but no matter how slow in comparison there is no substitute for proper professional advice.

A couple of links:
NICE Clinical Guideline 129 – Multiple Pregnancy
TAMBA – Twins and Multiple Births Association

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6 thoughts on “The Perils of being a Google Doctor

    older mum said:
    October 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Can really empathise with your anxiety. Elective C at 37 weeks when they advise from 36 weeks and then you read scary info about risk of death at 38 weeks. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

      toomanycarbs responded:
      October 10, 2011 at 10:06 pm

      Thanks. Looks like with staying with 37weeks after a very sensible conversation with a consultant today.

    Emily (@AMummyToo) said:
    October 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Oh dear I am TERRIBLE for this. I have diagnosed and ruled our about 20,000 pregnancy-related conditions over the last 9 months (I’m due 21st Oct). Sometimes I think we should be banned from Google. Hope it all goes well on 28th Oct – I’m sure it will! 🙂

    Mammasaurus said:
    October 10, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Oh the Google Doctor is a bit of a charmer – he sucks you in with his instant knowledge. I too googled my socks off a few years back when I discovered that the baby I was carrying had an abnormal umbilical cord and was met with all sorts of info from disabilities to low birth weight to still birth. I scared myself witless – but the NHS are no great at dishing out information at times. I was told at my 21 week scan that they’ didn’t have any more leaflets on it left but not to worry as I’d be brought back fortnightly for growth scans’.
    Obviously I freaked out and googled away – knowledge is power – or maybe not !

    Natasha (@LoveInTheNest) said:
    October 11, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Oh dear Google Dr causes so much more worry, yet its impossible to avoid when you have a worry. I find myself googling in the hope I’ll be left feeling less anxious but of course it never works out that way.

      toomanycarbs responded:
      October 11, 2011 at 9:28 am

      I have found the internet is not the place to make you feel better. After half an hour you can feel the life is hanging by a thread! A very delicate one at that!

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