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First trimester sonogram can help a doctor determine the size of your baby and its growth. Find out what kinds of sonography procedures are used in this video.
Transcript: Quick - how is having a baby like submarine warfare? If you said that submarines and doctors both use...
Quick - how is having a baby like submarine warfare? If you said that submarines and doctors both use sonar technology, you move to the head of the class! An ultrasound is a procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to scan your uterus.Those waves are then translated into an image of your developing baby. This technology is very similar sonar, which is used to locate and map things which are underwater, like submarines or sharks. In the first trimester, your doctor may perform a traditional abdominal ultrasound... But more commonly, she'll place sound probes in your vagina for a transvaginal sonogram, which can provide a clearer picture early in pregnancy. During about the sixth week of your pregnancy, either type of ultrasound can confirm that you are indeed pregnant. Your doctor will be able to measure the baby's size at this point, and can therefore estimate its gestational age. If your baby's gestational age is a full 6 weeks, it might be possible to detect your baby's heart rate. This sonogram will also be able to check for an ectopic pregnancy, whereby a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. During your eighth week, another sonogram is performed. By this time, you should see able to see the heart beating strongly. At any point during the first trimester, a sonogram may also be ordered to check for a suspected miscarriage. And while all of this can be scary, know that most babies are fine and there is no reason to believe that yours won't be, too!More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-11 | Tags »
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Pregnant women who have specific health concerns about their baby may consider amniocentesis. Find out more about amniocentesis by watching this video.
Transcript: Amniocentesis is a prenatal test that is given on a case-by-case basis. Here's how to determine if it's...
Amniocentesis is a prenatal test that is given on a case-by-case basis. Here's how to determine if it's right for you. Amniocentesis, which is used to screen for chromosomal and genetic disorders, is usually conducted during weeks 16 to 20 of your pregnancy. The procedure is invasive and involves the insertion of a long, thin needle into your abdomen. The needle is used to obtain a small sample of your amniotic fluid. During the procedure, some women feel slight cramping or pinching, although others notice no symptoms at all. So why would you want to get an "amnio" done on your baby? Many women decide to get this procedure if they have had other tests which suggest that their baby may have abnormalities, including...Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis, Down Syndrome, Turner's Syndrome, sickle cell disease, spina bifida and others. Other women get the test simply because they have a higher genetic or age risk for these abnormalities. Women who choose to have amniocentesis do so in hopes of receiving the peace of mind that the procedure can potentially offer them if their baby is fine. When the news is not good, the test results allow parents to make an informed decision about terminating the pregnancy, or at least provide the parents with time to prepare for the birth. Some women, however, have no desire to know whether their baby has an abnormality, since termination is not an option for them. Still others shy away from the procedure due to the risk involved-about one in 200 amniocentesis procedures results in a miscarriage. Because amniocentesis can be a controversial procedure, the decision to make it is totally up to you-and no choice is right or wrong.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-11 | Tags »
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You can test for some birth defects before giving birth. Learn more about prenatal testing for birth defects in this video.
Transcript: In the United States, about one in 33 babies are born with a birth defect, many of which can be detected...
In the United States, about one in 33 babies are born with a birth defect, many of which can be detected while the baby is in the womb. For some parents, testing for birth defects begins even BEFORE they are pregnant! Known as genetic testing, or carrier screening, pre-pregnancy testing involves taking blood samples from both prospective parents. The samples are then screened for abnormal genes, which could potentially lead to a genetic birth defect, like cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia. If gene abnormalities ARE detected, the parents may meet with a genetic counselor to discuss their options, which range from finding out AFTER their baby's birth if there is a problem, using In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF, to ensure that the egg and sperm are free of the potential genetic anomaly, to getting pregnant using a donor sperm or egg. Because many pregnancies are unplanned, some parents choose to undergo genetic testing in the early weeks after conception. But even if they skip this step, most DO consent to a screening called the Nuchal Translucency Test, or NT. An NT is an ultrasound-based test that is usually given between weeks 11 and 14 of a pregnancy. This screening measures a baby's risk for developing chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome and trisomy 18, and certain major heart problems. During an NT, the clear space at the back of a fetus's neck, the nuchal fold, is measured. Babies with chromosomal abnormalities tend to have thicker nuchal folds, which appears as more translucent space in this area. Like all screenings, an NT does NOT definitely say if there is a problem. Instead, a Nuchal Translucency Screening, usually done in conjunctions with a blood test, which is sometimes referred to as a sequential screen shows, with 90 to 94 percent accuracy, how LIKELY it is that a genetic abnormality is present. If the risk is high, there are several options available. For one, she can wait until early in her second trimester to have a multiple marker screening. This blood test looks for three substances, which may indicate the presence of a chromosomal birth defect or a neural tube defect, like spina bifida. Like an NT, the multiple marker screening can predict the likelihood of an abnormality with about 70 to 85 percent accuracy. To know for sure if there's a problem, it's necessary to undergo one of two diagnostic tests: chorionic villus sampling, or an amniocentesis. Chorionic villus sampling, or CVS, is performed in the first trimester, between the 11th and 13th week of pregnancy. During the procedure, a doctor obtains a sample of tiny projections on the placenta called chorionic villi. The extraction is performed through the cervix, using a catheter or through the abdomen, using a long, thin needle. The placenta sample is then sent to a lab, where screening can tell whether a baby has a chromosomal abnormality or a genetic disorder. But CVS does NOT test for neural tube defects and the rate for miscarriage is higher with this procedure than it is with amniocentesis, a more thorough diagnostic test given in the second trimester. Amniocentesis is performed during weeks 16 to 20 of a pregnancy. The test involves inserting a long, thin needle into the abdomen to extract a sample of a baby's amniotic fluid. This fluid is then analyzed for the presence of chromosomal defects. The average rate of miscarriage for CVS is about 1 in 200, and the rate of miscarriage for amniocentesis ranges from 1 in 200 to over 1 in 1,000. MUCH depends on the skill of the person performing the test, so be SURE to research the doctor working with you! Because each procedure is more than 99 percent effective at testing for birth defects, many couples decide that the risk is worth it. If either a chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis comes back positive, it's wise to seek the knowledge of a genetic counselor. Even parents with no intention of terminating a pregnancy can benefit from learning, as much as they can about their baby-to-be's condition. So remember: If you're pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, talk to your doctor about screening for genetic birth defects.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-09 | Tags »
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