First Trimester Screening

Prenatal test/First-trimester screening is done to know the baby’s risk to chromosomal disorders — Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18) and Down syndrome (trisomy 21)

The various tests done to rule out genetic disorders are:

  • Blood test – levels of two substances are measured i.e., pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A and human chorionic gonadotropin levels in the mother’s blood.
  • Ultrasound examination – to measure nuchal translucency (the clear space size in the tissue present at the back of the baby’s neck).

Other tests include:

  • Blood test – for Rh compatibility, Hepatitis B, STDs, HIV, and certain immunities
  • Urine test – glucose and protein levels are monitored to rule out gestational diabetes and preeclampsia
  • PAP smear – for infections and abnormalities

Another blood test known as NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing) is also done, in cases where there is a strong chance of the baby having a chromosomal/genetic disorder.

Classically, first-trimester screening is done by weeks 11 and 14 of pregnancy — some also can be done as early as nine weeks, but is rarely done.

Factor’s such as the mother’s age in addition to results of the blood test and the ultrasound, it can be predicted if the growing baby has Down syndrome or Edwards syndrome.

If the mother carries a moderate or high-risk level, following the first-trimester screening with another test that’s more definitive is suggested. If the mother’s risk level is low, she can rest reassured that she will soon have a young beautiful baby in her arms in the coming 6 months.

First-trimester screening/prenatal screening test is routinely followed and poses no risk of pregnancy complications or miscarriage.

Why is it important that you get one done?

It is important that you consider getting a first-trimester screening in order to confirm if your baby has any genetic disorder. In this way you will be mentally prepared to take care and provide for a baby with special needs.

A baby having Down syndrome will lifelong impairments, both mental and social development, as well as various physical concerns. Edwards syndrome, on the other hand, proves to be fatal by age 1.

It is important to know that all these tests are “screening tests” and if they show a positive. It is recommended to do a Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis for a definitive diagnosis

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