Ultrasounds, Screening Tests & Reducing Risks

During pregnancy, all women receive certain tests to help detect possible health concerns that could pose a risk to the mother or the baby.

Screening tests are given to assess the risk or rule out having a baby with certain birth defects and genetic disorders.

Some risk factors and reasons for performing prenatal screening tests are:

  • Family or personal history of birth defects or genetic conditions
  • Previous child with a birth defect or genetic disorder
  • Two or more pregnancy losses, a stillbirth, or a baby who died
  • Use of certain medicines around the time of conception
  • Diabetes before getting pregnant
  • Other test results that suggest a genetic condition is present
  • A woman who is pregnant or plans to become pregnant at 35 years or older
  • Increased risk of getting or passing on a genetic disorder because of one’s ethnic background

Screening tests are easy to perform and do not pose any risks for the fetus.  A variety of tests are available that can be done based on the stage or trimester of your pregnancy. Your doctor will explain the risks and benefits of the screening tests to help you make the best choice.

Depending on your genetic risk factors, your doctor may recommend you visit a genetic counselor for more detailed information about your risks.