Fetal testing, also known as prenatal testing, is an important part of caring for your health and your baby’s during pregnancy. These tests can detect certain health problems so that you and your baby can receive the treatments you need. The specific tests our doctor will recommend for you will vary based on your health and any existing risk factors. Here’s what expectant parents need to know about the different types of fetal testing.
First Trimester Screen
This newer method of fetal testing combines a maternal blood test with an ultrasound to check for signs of chromosome abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome. It is usually performed between the 11th and 13th weeks of pregnancy and has an accuracy rate of about 85 percent.
Triple Screen/Quad Screen Test
The triple screen test requires a blood draw from the mother between 15 and 20 weeks gestation to check for levels of AFP, hCG, and estriol. Abnormal levels could indicate neural tube defects such as spina bifida or anencephaly as well as genetic defects such as Down’s syndrome and Trisomy 18. This screening is recommended for women older than age 35 and those who have a family history of birth defects, have diabetes, took certain drugs during pregnancy or had a viral infection during pregnancy. The quad screen also tests for Inhibin-A levels and has a higher probability of detecting Down’s syndrome with a lower rate of false positives. If abnormalities are detected, follow-up testing is recommended.
This test is typically done as a follow-up to an abnormal triple or quad screen. With amniocentesis, an ultrasound-guided needle takes a sample of the amniotic fluid. While this test is 99 percent accurate in detecting chromosome abnormalities, neural tube defects and genetic disorders, we will recommend that women first have a less invasive test if they are at risk.
Chorionic Villus Sampling: CVS
This alternative to amniocentesis for women with high-risk pregnancies samples and tests the placental cells for abnormalities. Unlike amniocentesis, it can be performed early in the pregnancy.
Having regular prenatal care is the best way to assess your risks and decide which screening tests are best for you and your baby. At South Lake Obstetrics & Gynecology, our caring team will guide you through the process and help you learn more about the different methods of fetal testing. Contact us at our office in Clermont to schedule your first appointment and receive the care you deserve to ensure a healthy pregnancy.