Ultrasound exams – An imaging test used to monitor the structures and organs of the fetus.
Blood tests – A test where a blood sample is taken from the mother and analyzed for certain substances, such as hormones and proteins.
Prenatal diagnostic tests are more invasive and involve collecting a sample of cells from the fetus or the placenta. Results from these tests will tell your doctor if your baby definitively hasa chromosomal disorder or a genetic condition.
Types of prenatal diagnostic tests include:
Amniocentesis – A test that analyzes a sample of the amniotic fluid for neural tube defects like spina bifida.
Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) – A test that analyzes a sample of cells from the placenta for genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis.
A genetic counselor is a healthcare professional that is trained in medical genetics in order to assess the risk that a child may be born with a chromosomal or genetic disorder. These individuals also help couples understand how genetics can affect the health of their child. Genetic counselors are also trained in counseling to help couples cope with the psychological and emotional effects of prenatal testing.
They will look at your family medical history, both of you and your partner, to assess any risk of genetic disease. They will also consider the age of the mother and the health of both parents. Throughout the testing process, genetic counsellors will explain what the results of each prenatal test mean. If necessary, you will be offered additional testing with explanations about how each procedure is performed and what types of results you could receive. If you have any questions regarding prenatal testing, make an appointment with a genetic counsellor.