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Same-Day Pre-Surgery Pregnancy Tests Allow Women to Make Informed Decisions

The first three months of  pregnancy is a vulnerable time.  Many women spontaneously miscarry during the first trimester and many do not know that they were even pregnant.  The risk of spontaneous miscarriage increases with surgery because of the anesthesia and stress to the woman.  Further, anesthesia may cause birth defects.  Standard policies do not exist for same-day pre-operative pregnancy testing. It is common for pre-surgery physicals to be conducted a week in advance of surgery, allowing a time frame long enough for pregnancy-related blood levels to change.  The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York has such a policy and found it to be effective.
Most surgeries at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York are elective procedures.  The hospital instituted a same-day pregnancy test for women of child-bearing age.  All of the patients that found out they were pregnant with the same-day pregnancy test decided to postpone their surgery.  The direct cost of same-day pregnancy testing for a hospital is low, only about $5.00.  Advocates of same-day pregnancy testing say the costs are low compared to the psychological burden that could be placed on a woman and her doctor if a pregnancy was compromised by surgery and anesthesia.

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