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Prenatal testing: Could it be right for you personally?

Prenatal testing: Could it be right for you personally?

Prenatal testing, including screening and diagnostic tests, can offer valuable information regarding your baby’s health. Understand the risks and benefits.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Pregnancy is really a time of great anticipation and, sometimes, anxiety. You may worry your baby could have health problems. Some babies are born healthy, it is important to understand your alternatives for obtaining information regarding your baby’s health.

Forms of prenatal testing

Both main forms of prenatal testing are:

  • Screening tests. Prenatal screening tests can identify whether your child is pretty much more likely to have certain birth defects, a lot of which are genetic disorders. These tests include blood tests, a particular kind of ultrasound and prenatal cell-free DNA screening. Prenatal screening tests are often offered through the first or second trimester. Screening tests can’t create a definitive diagnosis. If results indicate an elevated risk for a genetic disorder, your medical provider will discuss your alternatives for a diagnostic test to verify the diagnosis.
  • Diagnostic tests. In case a screening test indicates a possible problem or your actual age, genealogy or health background puts you at increased threat of expecting with a genetic problem you may consider an invasive prenatal diagnostic test. A diagnostic test may be the only solution to be certain of an analysis. Some diagnostic tests, such as for example chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis, carry hook threat of miscarriage.

Forms of screening tests

Prenatal screening tests include:

  • First trimester screening tests. Throughout your first trimester, your medical provider will offer you a blood ensure that you an ultrasound to gauge the size of the clear space in the tissue behind a baby’s neck (nuchal translucency). In Down syndrome and using other conditions, the nuchal translucency measurement is bigger than usual.
  • Second trimester screening tests. Throughout your second trimester, your medical provider will offer you another blood test called the quad screen. This test measures degrees of four substances in your blood. Results indicate your threat of carrying a child who has certain chromosomal conditions, such as for example Down syndrome. The test may also help detect neural tube defects serious abnormalities of the mind or spinal-cord.
  • Prenatal cell-free DNA screening. This blood test examines fetal DNA in the maternal bloodstream to screen for the increased opportunity for specific chromosome problems, such as for example Down syndrome. This screening may also provide information regarding a baby’s sex and Rh blood type.

Questions to take into account

Prenatal screening tests for fetal abnormalities are optional. It is critical to make the best decision about prenatal testing, particularly if you’re screening for fetal conditions that can not be treated. Prior to going forward, examine these questions:

  • Exactly what will you do with the test outcomes? Test outcomes within the typical range can ease your anxiety. However, if prenatal testing indicates your baby may have a birth defect, you will be confronted with wrenching decisions such as for example whether to keep the pregnancy. However, you may welcome the chance to arrange for your baby’s care beforehand.
  • Will the info shape your prenatal care? Some prenatal tests detect issues that could be treated during pregnancy. In other cases, prenatal testing alerts your medical provider to a condition which requires immediate treatment after birth.
  • How accurate will be the results? Prenatal screening isn’t perfect. The rate of inaccurate results, referred to as false-negative or false-positive results, varies from test to check.
  • Do you know the risks? Weigh the risks of specific prenatal tests such as for example anxiety, pain or possible miscarriage contrary to the value of knowing the outcomes.

Your choice to pursue prenatal testing is your decision. If you’re worried about prenatal testing, discuss the risks and benefits together with your doctor. You could also talk with a genetic counselor for help selecting a ensure that you understanding the outcomes.

Making the effort to evaluate your alternatives can help you make the very best decision for you personally as well as your baby.

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Aug. 26, 2022

  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Genetics. Committee Opinion No. 693: Counseling about genetic testing and communication of genetic test outcomes. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2017;129: 96.
  2. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins Obstetrics, Committee on Genetics, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 162: Prenatal diagnostic testing for genetic disorders. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2016;127: 108.
  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins Obstetrics, Committee on Genetics, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 163: Screening for fetal aneuploidy. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2016;127: 979.
  4. Faqs. Pregnancy FAQ165. Prenatal genetic screening tests. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Prenatal-Genetic-Screening-Tests. Accessed Aug. 20, 2018.

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