Antenatal Screening

Management and Treatment by Dr Shruti Kainth (Obs & Gyne)

Antenatal Screening

Some pregnant women may be offered antenatal screening, also known as prenatal screening or prenatal diagnosis. This is to check for complications with the pregnancies or disabilities of their unborn babies, such as Down’s syndrome.

It includes regular doctor visits to identify and treat any issues early on. You can also learn how to manage other elements of your pregnancy during these visits. Your doctor will talk to you about maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough exercise, the need for screening exams, and what to expect during labour and delivery.

Aims of antenatal testing :

– To ensure no complications during pregnancy or in the child.

– To prevent a congenital disability called Down’s syndrome, which has a higher incidence.

– To detect any risks for the baby, such as genetic diseases that can be passed on to the baby, such as cystic fibrosis.

– To screen for other medical conditions in 1% of pregnant women.

Three different types of ANS methods are widely used;

1. Biochemical Screening : 

In this method, a single blood sample drawn from a pregnant woman at around 16 to 18 weeks can be used to check for open neural-tube abnormalities and Down’s syndrome. This is because these neural-tube defects are easily recognised and diagnosed.

2. Genomic Screening : 

Genetic testing has a high level of specificity and sensitivity. At 14–16 weeks and 8–9 weeks, the test is performed through amniocentesis or Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS). Using a single amniotic fluid sample, the genetic testing could detect two conditions: trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) and trisomy 18 (Edward’s syndrome).

3. Ultrasound Screening : 

We do regular ultrasound screening for the following as part of routine antenatal care; dating the pregnancy, identifying abnormalities in the foetus, checking the baby’s growth, and whether there is any placenta previa. In addition, we also do more detailed ultrasound scanning when a patient visits us with a specific problem.

There could be some serious conditions that are difficult to identify before birth, such as muscular disorders or heart defects in which the baby has no symptoms until it happens. These cannot be detected through maternal testing.

Antenatal Diagnosis 

The Dr. Shruti Kainth (Obs & Gyne) will advise you on the need for clinical examination and diagnostic tests during your pregnancy after assessing your general medical condition. 

These may be performed to identify factors affecting the health of you and your unborn baby. It could be either investigating a problem or simply as a routine test. Further tests may be required to confirm the diagnosis or assess its severity if a problem is found. The benefit of testing is to identify conditions at an early stage when actions can be taken to reduce the risk or consequences of the condition.

If the result is positive, several tests will be conducted depending on their indications. 

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