Obstetrics - Pregnancy Screening

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Sequential Screening For Chromosomal Abnormalities, Including Down’s Syndrome And Neural Tube Defects:

An ultrasound is a safe and non-invasive procedure, with studies showing no risk to the mother or fetus. An ultrasound does not involve the use of radiation.


An initial ultrasound is performed usually within one week of your first obstetrical visit in order to determine your due date, placenta location and viability growth of the fetus. This ultrasound is not intended to diagnose fetal abnormalities.


A Nuchal Translucency Ultrasound is offered during 12 – 14 weeks of pregnancy. Measurements are taken, along with a genetic screening blood test  A second follow-up test is performed at approximately 16-17 weeks of pregnancy. A Nuchal Translucency Ultrasound measures the nuchal thickness of the back of the neck of the fetus, which can indicate an increased risk for Down’s Syndrome and other chromosomal anomalies.

You will have an ultrasound at approximately 20 - 22 weeks to check the anatomy and growth of the baby and at approximately 30 - 32 weeks to determine growth and position of the baby. Both of these ultrasounds can determine the sex of the baby.


A Genetic Screening blood test is performed at approximately 16 – 17 weeks of pregnancy. The results are then calculated, along with the earlier blood and nuchal translucency ultrasound measurements, taken at 12 – 14 weeks of pregnancy, in order to determine the risk factor of having a fetus with chromosomal anomalies, such as Down’s Syndrome and/or Neural Tube Defects.


The Screening is very accurate for detecting an increased risk for Down’s Syndrome.


Glucose Screening:

The test screens for gestational diabetes between 24 – 28 weeks gestation. When you arrive for your appointment, please ask the Receptionist for the Glucola drink. You will need to drink the entire bottle of sugar water within 10 minutes and please note the time you finished drinking this beverage. One hour later, your blood will be drawn.


If you have a personal or family history of diabetes/gestational diabetes, this test may be performed early in pregnancy and again at 24 – 28 weeks of pregnancy.


Fingerstick For Anemia Screening:

This test screens for iron deficiency anemia at 32 weeks gestation. If you are found to be anemic, you will be instructed to take daily iron pills, along with your prenatal vitamin.


Group B Beta Strep (GBBS) Screening:
GBBS is a culture taken from the perineum between 35 – 37 weeks of pregnancy to see if a Strep B bacteria is present. This bacteria is normal in 30% of women and lives inside of the intestines and female organs. If your culture indicates that you have GBBS, then you will be given antibiotics in your IV fluids at the time of labor in order to prevent the bacteria from being passed to the infant at the time of birth.