Your healthcare provider will ask you to get some screening tests when you are pregnant. This is done in order to detect any health-related problems that you or your baby may have. The doctor would test for any infections or a physical abnormality. The screening tests are also done to check for Down’s syndrome.
The tests are done after which the doctor would guide you if you would need any further tests or what your treatment plan should be during your pregnancy or after you give birth to your baby.
What are the screening tests that are performed?
The screening tests are done to those who have a high risk of health problems. This means that those who are at a higher risk can be treated early so that the problem can be cured. It is important to note that the screening tests are not perfect.
The screening tests include ultrasound, a blood test or a combination of both. The ultrasound is done to detect any physical abnormality. The blood test lets the doctor find out any inherited disorder like anemia or HIV.
When the blood tests and the scans are done in combination it can let the doctor check for any chromosomal abnormality.
Are there any risks when the screening tests are done?
The screening tests do not harm the mother or the baby. But yes there are some risks involved that should be considered.
There could be some tests which would leave you in a difficult situation. Like when a screening test for Down’s or Patau’s syndrome is done it could lead to a difficult decision. One would have to consider whether a diagnostic needs to be done which has a risk of miscarriage.
A diagnostic test tells you whether the condition is with them other or the baby. In case the test is positive then one needs to take a decision whether to continue or end the pregnancy. This is a difficult decision to take.
It could be a big decision to take whether to have further tests or to terminate the pregnancy.
When are the screening tests done during pregnancy?
The doctor will ask you to get different screening tests during your pregnancy. Screening tests for thalassemia and sickle cells are done before the woman is 10 weeks pregnant. Screening tests for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B should also be done early in pregnancy. This is done in order to start treatment early and to reduce the chances of the baby getting infected.
The screening tests for Edward’s and Down’s is done at 11 to 14 weeks of pregnancy. The screening for any abnormalities will be done at around 18 to 21 weeks of pregnancy.
Whether the screening test gives a confirmed answer depends on the screening test that is performed.
Certain screening tests like for syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV are accurate and if the tests are positive then you will be asked to do tests to find out what treatment you need.
However, the screening tests for Downs, Patau’s and Edward’s cannot say with any certainty whether you or the baby has the condition. The test will tell you if the baby has a high or a low chance of having the condition.
Any health-related information or any medical opinion in the content is gathered from secondary sources and is only for the purpose of information and this should not be treated as a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Using this site and the information contained in it is not to create a doctor-patient relationship. Always make sure to seek the advice of your doctor if you have any issues or questions regarding yours or the health of others.