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Everything You Need to Know about Prenatal Screenings

Everything You Need to Know about Prenatal Screenings


Pregnancy is both a thrilling and daunting time for parents-to-be. Questions about baby names, crib assembly, and overall safety emerge from the start. Among so many choices and decisions, another concern that often lingers during pregnancy is, "Is my baby healthy?" To assist with this question, your doctor might suggest prenatal screening. If you’re on the fence about whether or not this suggestion could benefit you and your baby, Mobile Ob-Gyn wants you to have all of the facts. 


Here are some considerations we urge you to consider when it comes to prenatal screenings:


Optional Testing Available


If you want an authentic view of your baby's development, prenatal screening is a beneficial path. This optional testing provides valuable awareness to both you and your medical provider.

These screenings might catch pregnancy complications or genetic conditions that would otherwise go undetected. In turn, you and your ob-gyn or other obstetrics provider will have a firmer outlook on how to manage your pregnancy moving forward. Other benefits of this testing include pertinent care strategies for the fetus or affected newborns, your personal reassurance if results are normal, and the discovery of disorders at a stage when prenatal care can help.


These tests generally provide the probability or likelihood of a condition. Mobile Ob-Gyn is comprised of knowledgeable, compassionate physicians and staff who can help you navigate your options and guide you through the process.


First Trimester Screening


Carrier Screening

This test is performed on parents (or those who want to become parents) using blood or a cheek swab. Its goal is to determine whether a parent carries a gene for disorders that are commonly inherited.



An ultrasound is used to verify how far along you are in the pregnancy, the position and size of your baby, and as a means of discovering any irregularities with your baby’s organ development and bone growth. This is done by using soundwaves to produce an image of your baby in the uterus. 


One particular ultrasound, the nuchal translucency ultrasound, is used to determine how much fluid has accumulated at the back of your baby’s neck. If excessive fluid is present, it can be an indicator of Down syndrome, but this is not a certainty. Knowledge is power, especially in pregnancy. Knowing as much as possible at this stage via these important screenings ensures you and your baby receive the best care possible.


Second Trimester Screening


Blood Test

Given between 15 and 22 weeks, the “quad” blood test measures different substance levels in your blood. The results could show whether or not you are at an increased risk of having a child with Down syndrome, trisomy 18, neural tube defects, or abdominal wall defects. 



This ultrasound is usually given between 18 and 22 weeks of your pregnancy. This time, the ultrasound is used to check for any major defects in your baby’s limbs, abdomen, spine, heart, and brain.


Who Should Consider Prenatal Screenings?


The importance of these tests is amplified for a certain portion of the population. Some pregnancies carry a higher risk of birth defects or genetic problems. This can be the case if you’ve experienced one or more of the following:


  • Had a previous miscarriage.


  • Experienced a prior stillbirth. 


  • Had a premature baby in the past.


  • Previously had a baby with a birth defect.


  • Have a genetic disorder that tends to run in your or your spouse’s family.


  • Have diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, or frequent seizures. 


  • Have had preeclampsia during other pregnancies.


  • Have had gestational diabetes during other pregnancies. 


  • Are the maternal parent aged 35 or older.


  • Are the paternal parent aged 40 or older.


Other factors contribute to a higher recommendation for these screenings. It’s best to talk to your health care provider and determine which avenue aligns with your pregnancy needs. Our physicians take a compassionate, personal approach to your prenatal experience. We seek to ensure you receive expert, considerate care complete with all the reassurance you may need as you move through your pregnancy.



While screenings provide important health information, it’s worth noting that you should always lean on your physician for help interpreting the results. Your doctor is the best point of contact for understanding and conveying the testing conclusions.


Mobile Ob-Gyn offers prenatal counseling for your every concern. The value that we put on family and health means that we never take any shortcuts when it comes to the safety of your pregnancy and the promise of your new beginning. To schedule an appointment with us, please call 251-633-0793 or click here today.


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