Pregnancy _screening in pregnancy (1)

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The Women’s Wellness Centre An ObsgynCare facility at 204 Fulham Road SCREENING IN PREGNANCY This document has been written to provide you with information about the tests available to screen and test for possible foetal abnormalities in pregnancy. Whilst reading this please remember that the vast majority 98 of babies are normal. All women whatever their age have some risk of having a baby with physical and/or mental disability. In some cases the disability is due to chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s Syndrome trisomy 21. The only way to be certain if a baby has a chromosomal abnormality is to have an invasive test such as Amniocentesis or CVS see over. Both tests increase the risk of miscarriage by 1. SCREENING TESTS Screening tests do not carry any risk to the pregnancy and are designed to identify women at higher chance of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality Down’s Syndrome is the commonest cause of learning disability but screening may also show other chromosomal variations of differing significance. Screening does not tell you for sure whether or not the pregnancy is affected but it may help you decide if you want a diagnostic test. DIAGNOSTIC TESTS These tests give a definitive answer about whether or not the baby has a chromosomal abnormality. If the result is abnormal we will provide counselling support and information within 36 hours so that you can decide whether or not to continue with the pregnancy. This table shows how the risk of delivering a baby with chromosome abnormality increases with age. At 12 weeks the risk is higher because many foetuses with chromosome abnormalities die naturally during pregnancy. RISK OF DOWN’S SYNDROME Age At Birth At 12 weeks 20 1: 1527 1: 950 25 1: 1352 1: 898 30 1: 895 1: 795 34 1: 446 1: 262 36 1: 280 1: 165 38 1: 167 1: 98 40 1: 97 1: 57 42 1: 55 1: 32 44 1:30 1: 18 TESTS AT 11 – 13 WEEKS – NUCHAL TRANSLUCENCY SCAN This is a screening test. You will be offered an early pregnancy scan which may identify babies who are more likely to have a chromosomal abnormality. The baby is seen with ultrasound during a scan lasting 15 – 20 minutes. The size of the baby is measured to accurately date the pregnancy. At the same time it is possible to measure the amount of fluid behind the neck of the baby. By combining the risk based on your age with the information from the scan we can give you an individual risk of chromosomal abnormality in this pregnancy.

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The Women’s Wellness Centre An ObsgynCare facility at 204 Fulham Road Page 2 If the scan is not reassuring you may wish to have further tests such as Amniocentesis or a CVS to get a definite answer. If this is normal it is still important to consider having a detailed scan at 20 weeks to exclude other defects that are not due to chromosomal abnormalities. Some women may choose not to have this test. The choice is entirely yours. CHORIONIC VILLUS SAMPLING CVS This is a diagnostic test. Local anaesthetic is used and a thin needle is passed through the abdomen to take a sample from the placenta. Both baby and placenta afterbirth develop from the same cell and so the chromosomes present in the placenta can be used to check the chromosomes in the baby. CVS is not performed before 11 weeks. The procedure takes 3-4 minutes is performed under scan guidance and the results are available in about two weeks. The extra risk of miscarriage associated with this test is 1. In approximately 1 of cases the test will need to be repeated because the cells will not grow in the laboratory or the results are inconclusive. TEST AT 15 – 19 WEEKS – BLOOD TEST DOUBLE TEST/SERUM SCREENING This is a screening test. A sample of the mother’s blood is taken at about 16 weeks of pregnancy. For accurate results the pregnancy should be dated by ultrasound. By analysing two different substances in the blood it is possible to estimate the risk of Down’s Syndrome. The results take approximately one week. If you are found to be at high risk screen positive there is still only a small chance that your baby is affected. If this test is not reassuring you may wish to consider a diagnostic test Amniocentesis to give you a definite answer. If however you prefer not to have an invasive test we would offer to carry out a detailed scan at 20 weeks. Some women may choose not to have this test. The choice is entirely yours. We strongly urge you not to have this test if you have had the nuchal translucency test at 11 – 14 weeks otherwise you will significantly increase the risk of having a false positive result and therefore an unnecessary diagnostic test. AMNIOCENTESIS This is a diagnostic test. A fine needle is passed through the abdomen and amniotic fluid around the baby is taken and tested for abnormalities. The procedure is very quick taking less than 2 minutes. It is performed under scan guidance and the results take about 2 weeks. The extra risk of miscarriage is 1 and in approximately 1 of cases the test will need to be repeated because the cells will not grow in the laboratory or the results are inconclusive. TEST AFTER 20 WEEKS – DETAILED ANOMALY SCAN All women will be offered a detailed scan at 20 weeks. This scan looks for major physical abnormalities such as spinal bifida kidney and heart problems. In addition the scan will also check to see if there are any features of chromosomal abnormality. Measurements of the babies size will be made. In the majority of cases this scan will be normal and reassuring. Occasionally an abnormality may be detected. You will be told after the scan of any abnormal findings and a further scan will be arranged if necessary. LIMITATIONS OF SCANNING Even if your scans are normal it is impossible to totally exclude Down’s Syndrome and every foetal abnormality. However if no abnormal features are present the risk of chromosomal

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The Women’s Wellness Centre An ObsgynCare facility at 204 Fulham Road Page 3 abnormality is reduced. Although very reliable 20 week anomaly scanning cannot detect every physical and mental abnormality. CORDOCENTESIS This is a diagnostic test. A thin needle is passed through the abdomen to sample the babies blood from the umbilical cord. Local anaesthetic is used. The procedure takes 2 – 3 minutes is performed under scan guidance and the results are available in 3 days. The extra risk of miscarriage is 1. This test is not performed before 20 weeks. SUMMARY Gestation weeks Screening Test Diagnostic Test 11 - 13 Early Scan CVS 15 - 19 Blood Test Amniocentesis 20 PLUS Detailed Scan Cordocentesis Whilst note of the screening tests will detect every abnormality the 11-13 week scan will give you your risk earlier in pregnancy. We do not advise you to have both screening tests.

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