Everyone is excited about being pregnant and it is natural that when it comes to the baby’s health we all have our worries and concerns. This is all the more true if we have any hereditary illnesses or signs and symptoms during pregnancy that appear to be ominous. This said, have your mind at rest that you will have a safe and uncomplicated pregnancy as is the case with most pregnancies in this day and age. If you wish to know more about your baby’s health, you can do so with prenatal testing – a very important aspect of your pregnancy.
Certain risk factors contribute to the chances of having a baby with certain chromosomal abnormalities. Women who are over the ages of 35 when they fall pregnant have an increased likelihood of giving birth to a child with defects increases. In cases where pregnancy was not planned, certain habits such as smoking or alcohol consumption, particular foods or medicines may have an effect on the unborn baby.
There are different types of tests that exist in order to gather more information about prenatal health, some are classified as invasive and others as non-invasive. Amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling are considered invasive while other tests such as ultrasound and blood testing are non-invasive. Analysis of fetal nucleic acid (fetal DNA) in maternal blood samples is the most recent evolvement in the field of prenatal testing (for more information about non invasive prenatal testing visit this website: http://www.homednadirect.co.uk/prenatal-paternity-test.html )
As the term suggests, amniocentesis is the process by which amniotic fluid is removed from the amniotic sack which is found in the uterus. The amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby contains genetic data, which tells us information about the unborn baby. The presence of this genetic date is due to fetal DNA in the fluid. This DNA is there from the dead, shed skin cells of the baby.
Conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cystic fibrosis and Spina bifida are some of the main conditions which can be detected by a genetic analysis of the DNA in a sample of amniotic fluid.
There are risks associated with this type of procedure and this is especially so, since it involves insertion of a needle into the womb. Miscarriage is the most common, followed by uterine infections and leakage of amniotic fluid.
Chorionic Villus Sampling
This type of prenatal testing known as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is used to detect conditions such as Down’s syndrome, Tay-Sachs disease and cystic fibrosis. In CVS, a section of the tissue in the placenta where the chorionic villi are located is removed. The biopsy is then analyzed and the results processed. Since this type of testing is also considered invasive there are risks associated with opting for CVS, such risks include: Infection, bleeding, miscarriage and fetal damage.
Ultrasounds & Blood Tests
A simple, non-invasive ultrasound can also be used in order to monitor and determine the baby’s growth. An ultrasound can detect whether there are certain types of brain disorders and heart defects. Using simple sound waves, an ultrasound can not only establish the baby’s size or health, but it is the only test that will enable you to see an image of your baby (if somewhat fuzzy).
Whilst ultrasounds and other non invasive tests are pretty much standard with all pregnancies, amniocentesis and CVS will only be suggested under certain circumstances. These tests need to be carefully considered. Not all parents want to terminate the pregnancy of a baby that might have special needs.