Checking your baby’s health before birth: Screening tests during pregnancy

As you move towards the end of your first Trimester of pregnancy, your doctor or midwife will want to plan for you to undergo tests as your pregnancy progresses. The aim of the tests is to determine whether your pregnancy will run smoothly and end with the birth of a healthy child.

If you don’t want to know those things, then you will need to speak to your clinician and decide how best to manage your pregnancy. The better informed you and they are, the easier it will be to deal with any issues.

pregnancy screening

What types of Test are Available

There are two categories of test available screening tests and diagnostic tests.

You should be aware that different tests are conducted at different stages of the pregnancy and some have a very narrow window during which they should be carried out. It is essential, particularly if you are at risk, that you get the best medical care available. Maxxima Group supplies a range of care solutions to both public and private health providers in the UK. Biomedical scientist jobs with Maxxima Group are sought after.

Screening Tests

These are non-invasive tests which will establish whether you are at risk of giving birth to a child with a birth defect such as spina bifida or Downs Syndrome. Test accuracy is improving all the time and can range from 80%-90% accuracy, depending on the condition being tested for and other factors. The NIFTY which screens for Downs Syndrome, Edwards Syndrome and Patau Syndrome has a 99.5% accuracy rating.

pregnancy screening

Diagnostic Tests

These tests are invasive and involve the removal of cellular matter, often from the placenta and this slightly increases the change of miscarriage. One of the most common diagnostic tests is amniocentesis. If you have concerns, you should discuss them with your clinician. If your screening tests showed no increased risk of problems, you may not need diagnostic testing. However, if your doctor isn’t happy with your screening tests results, they may well recommend diagnostic tests. Diagnostic tests will provide a definitive answer to whether your baby will be born with a defect or condition.

What Type of Birth Defect Can Be Tested For?

I have already mentioned Downs Syndrome, spina bifida and other conditions. Pre-natal testing isn’t just about diagnosing potential conditions your baby might or does have, it is also about keeping both mother and baby’s health during pregnancy. Blood tests alert doctors to cases where the mother is Rh-negative and the baby Rh-positive. Conditions such as rubella, hepatitis B, HIV and syphilis can be detected. An ultrasound will reveal the size and position of your baby and how the body is forming. The Nuchal Translucency test which checks for abnormal amounts of fluid at the back of the baby’s head is another detector of Downs Syndrome.

pregnancy screening

Final Words

If your tests show you have nothing to worry about, you will feel much more relaxed and have a happier pregnancy. If they do detect a problem, you and your medical team have time to decide how best to go forward; some conditions are treatable in the womb.

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