Sunday, November 20, 2011

Prenatal Screening

Prenatal screening is a test for diseases or conditions in a fetus (unborn baby).  The reason for this is to detect birth defects or abnormalities such as; Down ’s syndrome, Spinal Bifida, Cystic fibrosis, Chromosome abnormalities, etc.

The purpose of diagnosis includes, the family being “mentally prepared” for the coming of the new baby who may need extra care, extra help, financially medically etc.  Having a screening or diagnosis in advance can prepare the healthcare professionals and the parents alike.

Invasive and Non- invasive are prenatal testing methods. Invasive testing methods include needles or probes being inserted into the uterus like amniocentesis and chronic villus sampling.  Non-invasive testing methods include ultrasonography and maternal serum screens.

Risk factors for mothers who should get prenatal screening are:

Mothers over the age of 35
Mothers who have a history of asthma, epilepsy, lupus, diabetes, and high blood pressure
Mothers who have previously miscarried
Mothers who have family histories or family background of genetic disorders

If a genetic disease is detected, there is often no treatment that can help the fetus until it is born. Early diagnosis gives the parents time to research and discuss post-natal treatment and care. Genetic counselors are usually called upon to help families make informed decisions regarding results of prenatal diagnosis

Also, read the following link, to get specific information about 1st and 2nd trimester tests

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