Three to four out of every 100 babies is born with some form of birth defects, major or minor. Some of these birth defects can be prevented, but most cannot. However, many may be detected before birth. This process of testing for birth defects and genetic conditions during pregnancy is referred to as prenatal diagnosis. Identifying certain birth defects and genetic conditions before a baby is born may enable a couple and their doctor to make decisions regarding the management of the pregnancy.
There are a number of prenatal tests including ultrasound, the California Prenatal Screening Program, chorionic villus sampling, and amniocentesis which are performed at different gestations of pregnancy. There are benefits, risks, and limitations with all prenatal tests. There are many things to consider in determining what testing may be offered such as family and pregnancy history, age, and results of prior routine pregnancy tests. A genetic counselor can review this information with patients to facilitate educated decisions regarding prenatal diagnosis. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.