Non Invasive Prenatal Screening

Pregnant women have access to a variety of tests to determine a baby’s risk of Down syndrome, Trisomy 18 and open neural tube defects. Some newer testing methods involve only a blood test and an ultrasound, which can be done safely early in the pregnancy. These screenings are minimally invasive and do not pose any identifiable risk to the fetus. However, while they predict the likelihood that a particular condition is present, they do not provide definitive answers. For example, a “positive result” would not necessarily mean that a baby has a health problem, but it shows that the baby is at increased risk. Similarly, a “negative” result would not guarantee that no health problem is present. Other testing methods can provide a more definitive answer for the specific condition being investigated. However, these tests may pose a greater risk to the mother and fetus because often they are more invasive.

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