First-Trimester Screening is recommended for pregnant women of any age who would like early information about the health of their pregnancy.
What is a first-trimester screening (FTS)?
First-trimester screening (FTS) is a routine, non-invasive test done between 11 weeks and 13 weeks of pregnancy. It does not pose any risk to the mother or baby. The screening includes a combined blood test and an ultrasound of the fetus. The results of the blood test in combination with evaluation of risk factors such as the mother’s age can show if the baby may have a birth defect.
How is a first-trimester screening done?
Blood test: A simple elastic band will be placed around your arm to make the veins pop. The area will be cleaned and the needle inserted to draw the blood. Once the tube attached to the needle is full, the needle is withdrawn and the band removed. A piece of gauze is then placed over the site, and pressure and a bandage are applied.
Ultrasound: The doctor or technician will spread gel over your belly and move a device (called a transducer) over the surface of your belly. Images of the baby will be seen on a screen, and your doctor will look for any signs of a birth defect. The results of the screening can take up to a week to complete.
What does a positive result mean?
Positive results for these tests do not mean that your baby has a birth defect; they only signal that further testing should be done. Your doctor will discuss the results with you and your partner and refer you to a genetic counselor who will work with you to discuss what further testing you should consider.
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