Antenatal screening tests
There are many antenatal tests that can be carried out during pregnancy which will offer reassurance to the parents. They involve monitoring the health of the mother and the baby throughout the pregnancy until the birth. As well assessing both the health of the mother and the unborn baby antenatal screening tests also detect any diseases which may affect the foetus or even any diseases which may cause complication with the baby once they are born. It is also important for these antenatal tests to take place as unborn babies are more at risk from developing diseases because they rely on their mother for protection as their immune systems are weak. Any problems that may occur during labour, before and after the birth of the baby as a result of a disease may be helped by these screening tests to solve any potential problems. Factors which could possibly increase the risk of an abnormality within the pregnancy include the age of the mother and her medical history as well as a family history of genetic conditions.
The two main types of antenatal screening tests which detect abnormalities or problems with the foetus include amniocentesis and blood tests. An amniocentesis test is carried out to detect genetic disorders which include muscular dystrophy, haemophilia and sickle cell disorders. Blood tests are done to check for anaemia, spina bifida and blood groupings. Below are the previous main tests that are carried out during the pregnancy and the methods used.
An amniocentesis test is carried out during a woman’s pregnancy. The aim of the test is to provide doctors with information concerned with the development of the foetus. The test shows whether the foetus has developed or could develop any abnormalities or serious health conditions such as diseases. A test such as amniocentesis is normally only offered to woman who appears to show signs of risk for their baby to develop or already have developed any abnormalities or a serious condition. An amniocentesis test is usually carried out between 15 and 20 weeks of the pregnancy. An ultrasound scan is used to locate the foetus position by using sound waves to make a picture of the foetus in the uterus on a TV screen. A hollow needle is then gently put in through the belly and used to withdraw amniotic fluid from the amniotic sac that surrounds the foetus in the womb is took. If the foetus moves too close to the needle while the doctor is trying to withdraw the fluid it will be taken out and the doctor will try the same procedure again in a different place. The amount and size of the chromosomes in the fluid are then thoroughly examined and tested for a number of conditions such muscular dystrophy, haemophilia and sickle cell disorders or any other abnormalities during the baby’s growth.