Prenatal testing is an important part of the care you need for yourself and for your developing baby. Some testing is performed on everyone and is considered routine. Other tests are performed on individuals at increased risk for a problem based on age, ethnic background or other risk factors.
- Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
Chorionic villus sampling can be done earlier in pregnancy than amniocentesis, at about 10-12 weeks. It is used to detect genetic defects like Down syndrome, but cannot detect neural tube defects like spina bifida.
Amniocentesis, which is an optional test, is done at 16-18 weeks of pregnancy to detect neural tube defects and genetic defects. This test is offered to women who will be 35 or older when they deliver, women with other abnormal genetic test results or couples who already have had a child with a birth defect or who have a family history of certain birth defects. Patients who want to have amniocentesis will be referred to a hospital with a perinatal center such as Stony Brook University Hospital or North Shore University Hospital.
- Nuchal Translucency (NT)
Nuchal translucency is measured by ultrasound between 11 and 14 weeks. Used in combination with a blood test for certain pregnancy markers, this test can detect up to 90 percent of Down syndrome babies. This test is performed in our office.
- Cystic Fibrosis Carrier Testing
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that can be expressed in a child if both parents are carriers of an abnormal gene. The risk of being a carrier varies with race/ethnicity. You can be tested for carrier status before or during pregnancy.
- Group B Strep (GBS)
Group B strep is a bacteria that can cause serious illness in a newborn. A protocol that has been developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for GBS: Test everyone at 36 weeks of pregnancy and treat those who test positive.
Because GBS can be a transient infection, we follow the protocol. This requires patients with GBS to have antibiotics during labor. Patients at increased risk are those with diabetes who are on insulin, have ruptured membranes for more than 18 hours, are delivering before 37 weeks, have had a GBS urine infection during pregnancy or have a child previously affected by GBS.
Other tests may be specifically indicated for your particular circumstances, either at your request or at the suggestion of your physician. We may suggest that you come in for an exam if you develop symptoms of a vaginal, urine, ear or upper respiratory infection before treatment is given.
Patients with high-risk pregnancies may be seen in consultation with a perinatologist, generally from one of the tertiary care centers such as Stony Brook University Hospital.