Prenatal Screenings Option for All Pregnant Women

Women's Health Update

A variety of prenatal screenings are available for pregnant woman during different stages of pregnancy.

Babies born to parents in the following categories, according to the American College of Obstetricians and GynecologistsOff Site Icon  (ACOG), have a higher likelihood of being born with a birth defect:

  • Family history includes a genetic disorder
  • You are part of an ethnic group at high risk for some genetic disorders
  • You have a genetic disorder
  • You have had a previous child with a genetic disorder

Although the screenings are available to everyone, each pregnant woman has a choice whether or not to have them done, according to the ACOG.

Finding out in advance that your child is at risk of or has a birth defect can help you prepare to care for those needs before the child is born, according to the ACOG. 

Some ways to prepare for a baby born with a birth defect, according to the American Pregnancy AssociationOff Site Icon (APA), include: 

  • Address anticipated lifestyle changes
  • Look for support groups and resources
  • Seek out available interventions, such as possible fetal surgery for spina bifida
  • Start planning for a child with special needs

The most common, least invasive screening women have the option of having during pregnancy is the combined first trimester screening, which included a blood test and an ultrasound, according to the ACOG. The screen checks for Down syndrome, trisomy 13 and trisomy 18.

For more information about prenatal screenings, talk with your doctor or find a physician.