Frequently Asked Questions About Prenatal Testing (For Parents)

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Pregnancy is a time filled with anticipation and, at times, anxiety. There’s a lingering worry about your baby’s health and well-being. The best way to put an end to these anxiety-filled thoughts is to get a prenatal diagnosis. A prenatal diagnosis offers an insight into your baby’s health through screening and diagnostic tests. Screening tests are a combination of blood tests, targeted ultrasounds, and cell-free DNA screening, which help detect genetic disorders. Diagnostic tests, on the other hand, are only done if a screening test indicates a potential issue during your pregnancy. These tests provide critical information to ensure your baby’s well-being.

Here are some frequently asked questions related to prenatal testing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to Prenatal Testing

1. What is a prenatal screening test?

As mentioned before, a prenatal screening test is a combination of a blood test, an ultrasound, and a cell-free DNA test. They assess the likelihood of common genetic conditions, like Down syndrome and others, during pregnancy. Although these anomaly scans and tests are optional, taking a prenatal screening test monitors the health of your little one.

2. Which conditions do prenatal screening tests cover?

Prenatal tests are non-invasive tests that can uncover genetic disorders like Down syndrome, trisomy 18, and trisomy 13. Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, occurs when a foetus has an extra copy (full or partial) of chromosome 21. Babies born with Down syndrome are at higher risk for birth defects such as heart or intestinal abnormalities.

Trisomy 18 and trisomy 13, on the other hand, are chromosomal disorders that cause severe intellectual disability and medical complications affecting multiple parts of the body. Most babies born with these conditions do not survive beyond their first year.

3. What kind of results might I receive?

Generally, you might get three types of results after every prenatal test: positive, negative, and indeterminate. A positive test result indicates that the foetus shows an elevated risk for a particular condition. A negative test result indicates that the foetus does not exhibit an elevated risk for the condition. An indeterminate test result indicates that the test did not provide sufficient information to determine whether the foetus has an increased risk for the condition. If this occurs, your healthcare provider may recommend repeating the test.

Always remember that prenatal testing assesses risk but does not provide a diagnosis. Simply put, these tests only indicate abnormalities in the foetus but don’t provide more specific answers related to the issue.

4. Do I need prenatal testing?

Although prenatal screening is a choice, and your healthcare provider will respect whatever decision you make, it’s a critical test for your and your baby’s well-being.

5. Are there risks associated with prenatal testing?

Mos t prenatal tests don’t have any physical risks. They are safe for pregnant women.

Conclusion

In conclusion, always remember that opting for a prenatal diagnosis is up to you. If you are concerned about prenatal testing, discuss the risks and benefits with your healthcare provider. They can provide guidance to help you make an informed decision that best supports your health and the well-being of your baby.

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