Prenatal Genetic Services
Screening and Diagnosis for Your Baby
Nearly 97% of babies are born without major birth defects. But when defects do occur, being aware of them before delivery can improve the baby’s outcome. At UAMS, we provide screening and diagnosis for physical and genetic defects that could affect an unborn baby.
A maternal serum screening blood test can help assess
your risk of having a baby with a certain birth defects, and a diagnostic test (ultrasound, amniocentesis, CVS) can help determine whether your baby has the birth defect.
Who needs screening and diagnosis?
Your family doctor or obstetrician (OB) may offer you the opportunity to undergo prenatal screening and diagnosis. Some of the most common reasons for undergoing screening or diagnosis include:
- Age. If you are 35 or older, your baby is at increased risk for certain birth defects and chromosome problems.
- An unusual arrangement of chromosomes. If either parent has an unusual arrangement of his or her chromosomes, the baby may be at risk for certain birth defects. Such unusual arrangements can run in families and also cause recurrent miscarriages.
- Genes. If either parent has been diagnosed with a genetic disease (such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, hemophilia, Marfan syndrome or other birth defects) or are known carriers of such conditions, screening and diagnosis is recommended.
- Another child with a birth defect. If you’ve ever given birth to a child with a certain birth defect (Down Syndrome, a congenital heart defect, cleft lip, spina bifida or other birth defects) your unborn baby may be at risk as well.
- Use of certain medications. Some medications used during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, could have an effect on your baby’s development.
- Maternal Illnesses. Insulin-dependent diabetic mothers, women with lupus or other autoimmune disorders, and women with congenital heart defects should take special care while they are pregnant, and screening and diagnosis for birth defects may be recommended.