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Is Prenatal Screening Necessary? Things To Know About Prenatal Screening Tests

Prenatal screening is very important to help parents feel safer and more secure due to knowing how their fetus grows during pregnancy. Nowadays, with the development of modern medicine, birth defects can be diagnosed before birth instead of testing after birth.

Screening and detecting fetal defects during the stage of pregnancy help diagnose the risk factors of birth defects. If you still don’t know yet about this issue of prenatal screening, let’s find out the useful information from this article.

The Importance of Prenatal Screening

When someone has not yet understood the importance of prenatal screening, they may ask the question: “Is it necessary to do a prenatal screening test?” So, let’s read the following text to get the most satisfactory answer.

Pregnancy is a dangerous period that mothers worry about the baby’s development in the womb. Today, modern life can result in a polluted environment contaminated food causing the risk factors of birth defects.

This has been proven through specific numbers, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the rate of the infant with birth defects is 1.73%. This means more than 8 million babies worldwide are born each year with a serious birth defect. It points out that statistics is an alarming number, which not only affects the development of children but also damages the mental health of parents.

In Vietnam, the birth defect rate is higher than the average birth defect rate of the world, ranging from 2% to 3%. Some common birth defects in babies such as Down, G6DP, malformations due to an excess of chromosomes, etc.

Most birth defects occur in the first trimester of pregnancy, an important stage of development when the organs of the baby are forming. However, some birth defects occur later during the next trimesters of pregnancy.

In order to reduce the risks, diagnostic prenatal testing can be performed by informing prenatal screening tests, it can be easy to detect the early stages of disease that the disease can be successfully treated, and help your baby grow healthy after birth.

What Is Prenatal Screening?

A prenatal screening test is a modern medicine method, through the results of tests, a doctor will diagnose and also advise parents of abnormal results, which can result in making the best decision for both baby and mom depending on the status of each baby.

Prenatal screening includes the tests usually are done for each specific week of pregnancy in order to monitor the stages of development of the fetus to get the most accurate results for birth defects and common infant and newborn diseases.

What Is Included in Prenatal Screening?

What is included in prenatal screening? Prenatal screening includes two important steps to be prenatal screening tests and prenatal diagnostic tests.

Before the screening test, doctors will examine and advise patients on the information including health status, history of genetic disease, the types of drugs being used by patients, etc. After that, doctors will ask the patient to perform the appropriate types of test items for diagnosis.

How many weeks can pregnant people do a screening test? During pregnancy, there are many different methods of prenatal screening test for each stage of pregnancy, including the methods as follows:

1. Ultrasound in Diagnosing Birth Defects

The use of ultrasound in the prenatal diagnosis is the most common and simplest method to check the fetal condition at each prenatal visit. Through the probe placed on the womb, the image of the fetus will be clearly displayed on a monitor.

Ultrasound is used during pregnancy to check the baby’s development, a doctor will diagnose based on the ultrasound monitor to help pick up any abnormalities related to blurriness on the nape of the neck. However, ultrasound is the preliminary screening that cannot detect genetic and chromosomal defects.

Therefore, all pregnant women should perform ultrasound examinations during pregnancy, ultrasound can be used throughout pregnancy to detect fetal abnormalities with tests such as NIPT, Double Test, Triple Test in order to promptly detect and can be cured at an early stage and start treatment, the better fetal health will be.

Specifically, there are the following milestones of prenatal screening:

– At 12 – 13 weeks pregnant: measure blurred space behind nape to help assess the risk for Down.

– At 18 – 22 weeks pregnant: examines ultrasound for the defects related to heart, cleft lip, cleft palate.

– At 30 – 32 weeks pregnant: perform the tests that have a concern with the artery system and brain.

2. Double Test

A double Test is usually done at 12 weeks into the pregnancy. To perform a Double Test, doctors will draw with a volume of 1 – 5 ml of pregnant women for ADN testing. Based on test results, doctors will detect chromosomal abnormalities. However, it cannot identify all possible inherited disorders and genetic birth defects.

Results from Double Test help identify the following diseases:

– Trisomy 13: Children at risk for cleft palate, cleft lip, digestive, heart, and eye diseases.

– Trisomy 18: It is an abnormality causing risks for being small for gestational age, having a greater risk of miscarriage. In most cases, the baby is often weak in the womb, it can lead to life-threatening problems for the baby in a short time.

– Down syndrome: affects the development of the brain and other organs.

3. Triple Test

The triple screen is most valuable when performed between 16 -18 weeks of pregnancy. By measuring maternal serum AFP, uE3, and beta-hCG levels, can identify fetus malformation detection related to the neural tube, which may result in a low-risk gestational pregnancy.

If the test may detect abnormal, the mother needs more in-depth testing to continue monitoring and doing the next tests.

4. Non – Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)

NIPT is the safest method for both mother and fetus. This test should be done in the 10th week of pregnancy. Collecting 10 ml of maternal peripheral blood for analysis of fetal ADN.

If the Double Test and Triple Test to detect chromosomal abnormalities, which show the relative accuracy, prenatal screening results claim to be more than 99% accurate, detecting all genetic and chromosomal abnormalities in relation to Down, Edwards, Patau, etc.

Usually, twins, surrogates, and elderly women who are at high risk of miscarriage asked to perform the tests in order to check fetal malformations because of keeping your baby safe in pregnancy.Costs of Common Prenatal Tests

The cost of the prenatal test is the issue being taken care of by most pregnant women. How much does prenatal testing cost? The price will depend on which lab is used to process the test with equipment and the team of doctors.

Usually, Double Test and Triple Test are quite cheap, ranging from 500,000 VND to 1,000,000 VND. NIPT tests have higher safety, rigorous testing procedures, modern equipment should be at a higher price. The price ranges from 10,000,000 VND to 17,000,000 VND.

Note: The above price is for reference only

To know which tests are suitable for pregnant women and if you are concerned about the price, you will need to consult with a doctor first.

Who Should Get Prenatal Testing?

Should all pregnant women be performed prenatal testing? Prenatal testing is essential to check on the health of your developing baby.  It can help find out the risk that the fetus has certain birth defects. you should not miss this test.

However, subjects are considered to be an at-risk group that needs to be done screening tests for birth defects include:

  • Pregnant women over the age of 35.
  • Past miscarriage, unexplained stillbirth, unhealthy fetus.
  • There are symptoms such as flu, chickenpox, measles, etc.
  • Regular anxiety and stress mood.
  • Exposure to a toxic environment for a long time.
  • Regularly using stimulants or using a birth control pill but still.
  • Family health history of birth defects.
  • Use of drugs with antibiotic ingredients contraindicated to pregnant women.

Hopefully, the above article will provide you with useful information on what prenatal screening means to both mother and baby during this critical period of life. Then you have the knowledge and good preparation to create a perfect route to welcome your baby to this world!

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The site cannot and does not contain medical advice. The medical information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals.