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Pregnancy Weeks 13-18 - Page 5

Healthy Pregnancy Newsletter

Prenatal testing

As modern medicine advances, new information becomes available regarding how diseases are inherited. Now parents are given different choices to make about the health of their baby even before he or she is born. During this stage of your pregnancy, options for prenatal diagnostic testing range from noninvasive procedures, such as ultrasound and blood tests, to more invasive procedures, such as testing the amniotic fluid or sampling of placental tissues from within the uterus. Most of these tests are performed during the early second trimester of pregnancy.

Second trimester prenatal testing is available to all women, and may be recommended for those:

  • With a family history of a genetic disease or chromosomal abnormality
  • Who are over the age of 35
  • With a fetus with abnormalities seen on ultrasound

Parents may want to consult a specialized genetics counselor for prenatal counseling. These counselors are trained to give parents the information they need to make informed choices. Counseling also helps parents understand the effects of a disorder and ways it may be prevented or treated.

Some types of prenatal testing and procedures carry some risks to mother, baby, or both.

Learn about it

Ask about hospital and local community groups who offer pregnancy and parenting classes. You'll find you have many options, from childbirth preparation to infant car seat safety. Class schedules are often very flexible, with evening and weekend courses in various locations. Register now and plan to attend your classes in the latter part of your second trimester, or earlier if you are having twins or more.

Ask your health care provider:

  • Why is the test needed for my pregnancy?
  • What information will the test provide?
  • What are the benefits of the test?
  • What are the risks, if any, to me and to my baby?
  • What other tests might be used instead?
  • Who will perform the test?
  • Where will it be done?
  • How long does it take to get results?
  • Will the test results require additional testing?
  • What are my options based on the outcome of the test?
  • What are my options if I choose to not have the test?

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