What Exactly Is Prenatal Diagnosis?

The sad truth regarding prenatal diagnosis is that about 2%-3% of the born babies have some kind of major birth defect. The chances of such problems to occur increase with the age of the mother.

In the majority of the cases these birth defects are related to Down syndrome. Luckily there are some tests you could have to know what to expect.

Amniocentesis as part prenatal diagnosis

This is a test performed on the fluid that is surrounding and protecting the baby. It is good to have the test after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy and you can have the results 2-3 weeks after the procedure. Nonetheless there are some risks associated with this kind of pre-birth test used for diagnosis.

Prenatal DiagnosisChorionic virus sampling

There are some facilities that offer this kind of diagnosis. The results that it offers are similar to the results of the previous test, but it could be performed earlier during the pregnancy.

However the risks associated with the prenatal procedure are higher than in the previous case.

There are some patients who have the possibility to undergo amniocentesis but others may not have this procedure because the risks of miscarriage are higher.

Still in case they would like to reassure they could opt for another kind of testing.

Single screen test

The main point of this kind of prenatal testing is to look for alpha fetoprotein. In case the levels are elevated, there are greater chances of spina bifida.

Nonetheless a low level could indicate Down syndrome. This prenatal diagnosis test is able to show in about 30% of the cases whether the baby has been affected by the syndrome.

Double screen test

This prenatal diagnosis offers more information than the previous one because it also checks the human chorionic gonadotrophin levels. This is why the chances of picking up Down syndrome increase to 60%.

Triple screening test

In addition to the hormone levels measured by the previous types of procedures before birth, this one also measures the estradiol levels, and so it is able to pick up Down syndrome in 70% of the cases.

A low result of this test doesn’t necessarily indicate that there is something wrong with the little one. Such levels of the testing before birth could mean that there are more babies than thought or that the little one is older than believed.

Besides Down syndrome the test can pick up some other chromosomal abnormalities too.

Maternal serum screen

This test before birth is usually done during the 15th or 16th week and you should get the results in a week or two. It is meant to show the chromosomal risks but it offers an estimated risk.

In case the couple would like to get another kind of pregnancy diagnosis they might have to wait several weeks for the results of the test. When it comes to prenatal diagnosis there are a lot of options available due to technology, and sometimes you just have to choose what you are interested in and what you would like to know.


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