Prenatal screening is defined as tests that say something about chromosomal abnormalities in the unborn child. The most frequent chromosomal abnormality is Down’s syndrome in which a child has three chromosomes 21 instead of two; trisomy 21. A child generally can have a good live with this syndrome. A child with Down’s syndrome usually has mental retardation and frequent medical problems like heart defects, intestinal problems and hearing problems. There are two other trisomies which presently can be tested: trisomy 18 (Patau’s syndrome) and trisomy 18 (Edward’s syndrome). These two are less common because it is much harder for children to develop and live with these trisomies. Many pregnancies with children who have trisomy 13 or 18 end in a miscarriage or stillbirth. Occasionally these children will be born alive, but usually suffer from multiple defects and problems which cause a short-lived life. Children who live weeks, months or even a couple of years are an exception. The chance of a child with a chromosomal abnormality increases with the age of the mother (see a table with the chances printed below on this page).
Pregnant women can choose to do the NIPT (Non Invasive Prenatal Test) if they want information about the chance of having a baby with a chromosomal defect.
If pregnant women want to have information about possible physical abnormalities they can make an ultrasound around 13 weeks and around 20 weeks pregnancy.
In the beginning of your pregnancy we will give you information about the different tests if you want to.