Not knowing what to expect during pregnancy can be one of the most challenging parts. How can I ensure that my baby is healthy? Is there anything extra I can do to give my baby the best environment possible to grow up strong? Is my baby growing healthy and strong? Is everything normal in there? With all these questions, most mothers want to have as many options available to put their mind at ease. Having a first trimester screening can give pregnant women a better idea about how their baby is developing.
What is a First Trimester Screening Test?
The test involves using an ultrasound of a baby along with blood samples from the mother and comparing them to the norm of other mothers in your specific demographic. The test is taken between the 11th and 13th month of pregnancy. It takes into account things such as age, race, health of the mother, along with your blood test and ultrasound results. It then compares your results with others to evaluate your risk of carrying a baby that has Down Syndrome or Edwards Syndrome. Remember that this is NOT a diagnostic test, it is a screening test, which means that it just figures out your chances of having an abnormality.
Although first trimester screening tests have been around for several years, it has just recently been determined to be the best non invasive way to test for possible chromosomal abnormalities in a developing baby. The screening identifies problems in about 85% of babies that are affected by abnormalities. It is important to remember that the result is based on comparing your results to others, so an abnormal result does not always mean that there is a problem. Five percent of abnormal results are found in completely healthy pregnancies.
Should I get a First Trimester Screening Test?
Because the test is so non-invasive, there are not many downsides to having the screenings completed. Benefits of having the test completed, include:
- Deciding if you want to have more invasive tests based on the results of the screening
- Allows you to make decisions about any medical tests and the course of pregnancy
- Finding out sooner gives you more time to plan for a child with special needs
Many mothers debate whether or not they should get the screening test because they will not change their actions regardless of what the test reveals. This can be due to personal or religious reasons that some mothers will choose not to have the screenings completed. It is important to talk to your OB doctor about the risks and benefits of having a first trimester screening test. They are the only ones that can tell you if it is best for your situation.