It is common for soon-to-be-parents to worry about the probability of their child to develop some abnormalities. Down syndrome is a common abnormality that affects babies; children with this condition will need a lot of extra care thus screening tests for Down syndrome as well as diagnostic tests are performed to help the parents prepare themselves before the baby is born.
A Down syndrome screening test, usually performed sometime between the 11th to 13th week of your pregnancy, will help you know the chances of your baby having the condition. It will also let you know whether you will still need to have an invasive diagnostic test to be certain.? Screening tests in general are only used to determine the probability or chances of acquiring abnormalities; further testing is required to determine the actual condition of the baby.? Screening tests for Down syndrome include an ultrasound scan called the nuchal translucency (NT) scan. This down syndrome screening test will measure the fluid right under the skin of your baby?s nape (the back of his neck). Another screening test used is a blood test. This will measure two substances: human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) and pregnancy-associated plasma protein (PAPP-A). A woman carrying a baby with Down syndrome will have abnormally high levels of these substances in her body.
Though screening tests for Down syndrome will not reveal accurately whether your child has the condition or not, it will give you the probability which can help you determine if you would like to do more testing for Down syndrome during your pregnancy. About 87% of babies with the condition are usually detected through the combined tests.
Should you opt for further testing for Down syndrome during your pregnancy, the two diagnostic tests that you should look at are amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS). These are diagnostic tests that will give you more certainty regarding the condition of your baby.
Screening tests for Down syndrome will not treat or fix the problem.? However, it will give you ample time to figure out what to do next. You can opt to just do nothing, go for more diagnostic testing, or start preparing for future adjustments. If you need more information, don?t hesitate to discuss your concerns with your doctor and your partner.