A Guide To Early Prenatal Tests

For a first time expectant mother, the sheer number of things you need to do to take care of yourself and your baby can be a daunting prospect. Some of the prenatal tests you've read about seem unwarranted and even downright dangerous. How do you decide what to do and what to skip? That's where www.pregnancy-info.net comes in. Here's the run down on pregnancy tests performed during the first trimester of pregnancy.

First Trimester

*Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)-The name of this test, chorionic villus sampling, is a mouthful, and so people most often refer to it by its initials: CVS. CVS is a diagnostic test that can evaluate your fetus for certain inherited disorders and for chromosomal abnormalities. A health care provider may recommend this test when an expectant couple has family medical histories suggestive of a specific risk that might be diagnosed through CVS.

Invasive Test

In CVS, cells are removed from the placenta and analyzed. The test is invasive and involves the insertion of a thin catheter guided through the cervix to the placenta or the insertion of a long, thin needle through the abdomen into the placenta. This test is similar to amniocentesis but is preferable in some cases because it can be performed at an earlier stage of pregnancy. One out of every 100 CVS tests performed results in miscarriage, which is its primary associated risk.

CVS should not be performed on women carrying twins, those who have STD's or other active infections, or women who have experienced vaginal bleeding during the pregnancy. Side effects from the procedure include infection, spotting, cramping, and pain at the site of the needle or catheter's entry.

Noninvasive Procedure

*First Trimester Screen-The First Trimester Screen is a noninvasive procedure that is new to the scene. This evaluation process involves analyzing the results of two tests, the standard prenatal blood screening and an ultrasound screening of the fetus. These two tests are used to look for certain chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down Syndrome and Trisomy-18.

During the first trimester, there is a window of opportunity in which nuchal translucency can be seen in the fetus and this can be indicative of certain fetal abnormalities. This warning sign, should it exist, can be seen during the screening.

First Trimester Screen is performed during weeks 11 and 13 of the pregnancy. The screen is done to determine whether certain tests are indicated, for instance, CVS, or second trimester amniocentesis.

Many times a mother will have an "abnormal" result when the baby ends up being born perfect, healthy, and normal. The results of the screen only suggest a need for further testing and are by no means meant to be considered definitive. Depending on the results, you may be referred to a genetic counselor for an evaluation or your health care provider may suggest you undergo diagnostic tests such as CVS or amniocentesis.

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