Testing 1-2-3 | Fit Pregnancy

Testing 1-2-3

The prenatal tests you may receive and what they mean

Test
Maternal serum alphafetoprotein 

Who needs it, when is it performed?
All; at 15–20 weeks.

What's Involved?
Blood is drawn and examined for alpha-fetoprotein, a substance produced by the fetus.

What does it reveal?
Abnormal levels can indicate neural-tube defects, Down syndrome or a multiple pregnancy.

Potential harm to fetus?
None.

What's next? Follow-up:
f abnormal levels are found, ultrasound and/or amniocentesis may be suggested to rule out defects or chromosomal errors.
 

Test
Ultrasound   

Who needs it, when is it performed?
Performed as needed to gauge due date or gestational age.

What's Involved?
Also used during amniocentesis and CVS. A device placed on the abdomen or in the vagina creates an image of the fetus.

What does it reveal?
Age and position of fetus, growth rate, placement of placenta and visible defects.

Potential harm to fetus?
None.

What's next? Follow-up:
Depends on findings; may indicate need for further testing.

Test
Amniocentesis

Who needs it, when is it performed?
Women with a history of birth defects or who will be over 35 at term (or possibly if abnormal AFP results are found); at 15–20 weeks.

What's Involved?
A needle is inserted through the abdomen and into the uterus; a sample of amniotic fluid is withdrawn.

What does it reveal?
Chromosomal or genetic birth defects such as Down syndrome or spina bifida. Accuracy rate is 99.4%

Potential harm to fetus?
Slightly increased risk of miscarriage (1 in 200–400).

What's next? Follow-up:
Depends on findings; genetic counseling may be advised if an abnormality is found.

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