There are many tests available that provide information about your baby’s health. Your doctor will advise you about the most appropriate tests for you. The first tests to consider investigate the baby’s genetic make-up.
Carrier Screening – This blood screening test is used to determine if a couple is at risk of having a child with a genetic condition caused by smaller changes in the genes that parents may carry. Routinely Women’s Care offers screening for Cystic Fibrosis, Fragile X Syndrome, and Spinal muscular atrophy. Patients who are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent or other ethnicities, may be screened for additional diseases. Expanded carrier screening for several other conditions is also available and can be discussed with your physician.
Cell Free DNA Screening (NIPT or NIPS) – Analyzes DNA from the placental cells that circulate in the mothers blood to calculate a high or low risk for Down syndrome, trisomy 18, and trisomy 13. This test can also determine fetal sex with 99% accuracy.
Sequential Screening – Combines first and second trimester blood test results with an ultrasound that measures the thickness of the baby’s neck called a nuchal translucency (NT) ultrasound. This is a two-part test that includes bloodwork and ultrasound that screens for fetal Down syndrome, Trisomy 18 and open neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) Test – Second-Trimester Serum Screening known as AlphaFetoprotein (AFP) Test.This is a blood test that screens for spina bifida, Down Syndrome and Trisomy 18.The blood test is performed between 15-20 weeks.
Gestational Diabetes Glucose Screening/ Anemia – Glucose screening tests determine whether or not the mother has developed gestational diabetes. The first, called the Glucose Challenge Screening, is a preliminary blood test performed between 26-28 weeks. If a positive result is obtained with the first test, a second blood test, the Glucose Tolerance Test, may be performed to confirm the diagnosis. Not all women who test positive for the Glucose Challenge Screening test are found to have gestational diabetes upon further evaluation. We ask that you not eat foods that will break down into sugars the day of your test.
Group B Strep (Vaginal Culture) – This swab of your vaginal area is performed at approximately 36 weeks. Group B strep is a normal bacteria that is naturally found in the vagina of some women (15-40%) and is not harmful to women or a developing fetus. However it can be harmful to your infant if exposed during labor and the time of delivery. If you test positive for this bacteria, you will receive antibiotics during labor and delivery.
NST (Non Stress Testing) – Towards the end of your pregnancy your providers may request this testing to evaluate the movement and fetal heart rate of your baby. This testing is ordered regularly for a variety of conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and advanced maternal age, among other indications.