How to Prepare for a Noninvasive Prenatal Screening
Noninvasive prenatal testing can help your doctor understand the risks of your child being born with a chromosomal abnormality, such as Down syndrome. This type of testing analyzes DNA from the placenta that circulates in the mother’s bloodstream. The DNA can be extracted and analyzed in order to get results. Noninvasive prenatal testing can be performed early on in pregnancy and uses a blood draw from the mother for testing. The following steps should be considered leading up to noninvasive prenatal testing:
Speak to your doctor
In order to learn more about noninvasive prenatal testing or if you have questions as to whether a test may be right for you, you should begin by talking to your doctor. He or she can advise you about how the test is performed as well as what the results may mean for your pregnancy. Additionally, your doctor may wish to recommend noninvasive prenatal testing if you:
- Are of maternal age 35 years or older
- Have previously given birth to a baby with a chromosomal abnormality
- Have a family history of a chromosomal abnormality
- Your partner has a family history of a chromosomal abnormality
- Received an abnormal result from a first-trimester ultrasound
Collect your family and personal medical history
Family medical history is a risk factor that influences your personal risk of giving birth to a child with a chromosomal abnormality. If you or your partner have a family history of a chromosomal disorder your child may be at an increased risk of developing the condition. Additionally, if you have previously given birth to a child with a chromosomal disorder, siblings may be at an increased risk of developing the same disorder.
In order for your doctor to understand your child’s risk of developing a chromosomal disorder, it is important to collect your family medical history and give this information to your doctor during preconception and prenatal visits.
Call your insurance company
Some insurance plans will cover the cost of noninvasive prenatal testing for women with high risks of giving birth to a child with a chromosomal abnormality. To determine whether or not your insurance company will cover noninvasive prenatal testing, call your insurance company and ask about the coverage they offer.
Consult a genetic counselor
Genetic counselors are healthcare providers that specialize in medical genetics and counseling. These professionals can discuss the risks of giving birth to a child with a chromosomal abnormality or inherited genetic disorder. Couples and individuals working with a genetic counselor can also receive detailed information regarding prenatal screening and diagnostic tests, such as noninvasive prenatal testing.
After noninvasive prenatal testing has occurred, genetic counselors will review the results of the screening and what they mean in regards to the health of your baby. Genetic counselors can help couples explore alternative fertility options if necessary.
Article by Derrick Manning