The California Prenatal Screening Program is offered to all pregnant women in California, and it can help detect birth defects such as: Down syndrome (a cause of mental retardation), Trisomy 18 (characterized by mental retardation and physical birth defects), Trisomy 13 (characterized by severe physical birth defects and mental retardation), Neural tube defects (such as spina bifida or open spine), Abdominal wall defects (occur when the baby’s intestines are formed outside the body), and Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (a very rare problem causing mental retardation and physical birth defects).
The three types of screening tests (which estimate the risk of certain birth defects) offered to pregnant women are:
Full Integrated Screening
- Combines the Nuchal Translucency (NT) ultrasound result with first and second trimester blood test results (Note: the State program does not cover the cost of the NT ultrasound. In most cases, insurance companies, including Medi-Cal can be billed).
- First Trimester Screening is the first blood test (between 10 weeks and 13 weeks 6 days of pregnancy) plus the NT ultrasound (between 11 weeks 2 days and 14 weeks 2 days of pregnancy). In the first trimester, there is only screening for Down syndrome and Trisomy 18.
- Full Integrated Screening is when the second blood test (between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy) results are put together with the first trimester blood results and NT measurement to give a refined and improved risk assessment. Full Integrated Screening will also give a risk assessment for Neural tube defects and Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS).
Serum Integrated Screening
- Combines first trimester blood (between 10 weeks and 13 weeks 6 days of pregnancy) test results with second trimester blood (between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy) test results.
- This Serum Integrated result gives you risk assessment for: Down syndrome, Trisomy 18, Neural tube defects, and Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS).
Quad Marker Screening (Expanded AFP Screening)
- One blood specimen drawn during the second trimester (between 15-20 weeks of pregnancy).
- This screening gives you risk assessments for: Down syndrome, Trisomy 18, Neural tube defects, and Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome SLOS.
If any of the above risk assessments are high, a woman may then choose to have diagnostic tests (to tell whether or not the fetus actually has a specific birth defect).
For further details, please see The California Prenatal Screening Program booklet from your doctor or feel free to call our center.
Our goal is to facilitate the prenatal and genetic services that patients desire in a manner that is more practical for them. For patient referrals and to schedule an appointment, please call us at (714) 288-3500.