Screening

All parents-to-be want to be sure that their child is developing properly, without any pathologies, and that nothing threads the health of the child. Modern technologies enable detection of certain pathologies if they are present. This allows for taking the right decisions in time.

Importance of screening

Prenatal screening is an accurate and timely method of detecting possible risks of a baby to be born with a certain health condition (for example, Down syndrome). This procedure is safe both for a mother and for a fetus. It is recommended that every woman, who is going to become a mother, undergoes screening.

Indications for performing the procedure:

  • Presence of genetic diseases;
  • Other children of the pregnant woman were diagnosed with diseases (if this is not the first delivery);
  • The age is 35+;
  • There are records of miscarriages, stillbirths, missed abortion in medical history;
  • Pregnant woman was exposed to radiation or harmful working environment;
  • Intake of toxic medication;
  • Viral diseases on early stages of pregnancy.

Prenatal screening consists of the following steps:

  • Fetal ultrasound on 11-13th week of pregnancy;
  • Biochemical blood testing;
  • Genetic consultation (if needed).

The first prenatal screening is performed at the 11-13th week. This is the first part of the test. In this period, a mother-to-be takes a blood test for pregnancy-associated plasma protein and human chorionic gonadotropin (hormone). Fetal movement is still low, but the placenta is already active, thus its indicators provide all the necessary information – hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) and PAPPA (Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A).

This test allows assessing the level of certain proteins produced by the fetus, birth membranes and placenta. If the level of those substances changes, it means that the fetus presents a chromosomal abnormality, a neurodevelopmental disorder etc.

The second prenatal screening is the blood test for Alpha fetoprotein, Unconjugated estriol and human chorionic gonadotropin. This test is carried out in the 16-18th week of pregnancy. Those tests and fetal ultrasound are completely safe both for mother and child.

After a careful analysis of fetal ultrasound results and biochemical blood test, the doctor can calculate the individual risk rate for a woman, using a special program. If the risk is increased, it is recommended to consult a medical geneticist.

Screening is more efficient than ultrasound. In this way, it is possible to determine the risk of giving birth to a child with Edwards, Down or Patau syndrome. Down syndrome is considered to be the most common one. The older is the woman, the higher is the risk of different abnormalities.

Important to know!


Even if the screening results are exceeding the norm, this is not a reason for panic. This is not the final diagnosis, it is only a chance that the abnormality is possible. But an additional study and doctor’s consultation may rule it out. In a visit to a doctor, most of the abnormalities are not confirmed.

Screening results are not a criterion for diagnosis and prescribing the induced abortion. If a high-risk is identified, a gynecologist decides on prescribing additional invasive methods of fetal examination and refers a woman to medical genetic counseling. Professionals in Parens clinic strongly recommend mothers-to-be to take screening procedure. This is a chance to detect possible abnormalities timely.