Importance of Prenatal Testing

Pregnancy brings with it a lot of anticipation and sometimes anxiety. You may be doing everything right, taking optimal nutrition, following good fitness and yet you may be faced with nagging worries about the baby's health. The good news is, there are various types of screening and diagnostic prenatal tests which can help lay your worries to rest.

Prenatal screening tests help identify the risk of your baby having certain birth defects, most of which are inherited disorders. Screening tests include blood tests and 4D ultrasound scans and are mostly conducted during the first and second trimester.

Screening tests cannot make a definitive diagnosis, they are only indicative. Diagnostic tests, on the other hand, help confirm the diagnosis of a screening test. However, some fetal diagnosis tests pose a slight risk of miscarriage.

Some common prenatal tests are:

Amniocentesis - This test helps determine the risk of certain birth defects such as down syndrome, cystic fibrosis and spina bifida. It may be suggested for couples at higher risk of genetic disorders.

Biophysical profile - This test helps monitor the overall health of the baby and whether there is a need to deliver the baby early. An ultrasound scan may also be conducted as part of this screening.

Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) - This test is used to diagnose chromosomal and genetic disorders such as Down syndrome or cystic fibrosis.

Glucose challenge screening - This test is done to determine the mother's risk of gestational diabetes. Depending on the results, a Glucose tolerance test may be prescribed to diagnose gestational diabetes.

Group B streptococcus - This test is performed to look for bacteria that that can cause pneumonia or serious infection in the newborn.

Quad screen test - This is a screening test that helps determine the risk of chromosomal disorders including Down syndrome and trisomy 18 and neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

Nonstress test (NST) - This test is conducted to check for fetal distress. For example, whether the baby is receiving enough oxygen.

Ultrasound - Specialised4D ultrasound centres conduct 4D fetal scans. These scans are performed to look for signs of problems with the baby's organs and body systems. These scans also help in confirming the age of the fetus and proper growth.

Urine test - This test helps look for signs of various health issues such as urinary tract infection, diabetes and preeclampsia.

These are some of the screening and diagnostic tests you can expect when you go for fetal diagnosis services. Each of them are important as they help rule out various birth defects and genetic disorders.