Once you are well into the middle of your first trimester, and all the hoopla of your pregnancy news has settled down, it’s time to have an important talk with your doctor regarding pregnancy tests and the health of your baby. The doctor will conduct some essential prenatal tests to evaluate whether you and your baby are in the best of shape. To detect the possibility of genetic abnormalities like Down Syndrome, your doctor will advise combined screening tests which measure hormone levels in the maternal blood to predict the possibility of chromosomal abnormalities. However, these combined screening tests are not very accurate and have a history of giving false positive results. Invasive tests like amniocentesis and Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) can provide confirmed diagnosis, but as the name suggests, they’re invasive. Collecting amniotic sac fluid can pose a slight risk of miscarriage. That’s where NIPT or the Non-Invasive Prenatal Test comes in.
What is NIPT?
The Non-Invasive Prenatal Test is the latest and greatest in genetic prenatal screening tests that can predict, with high accuracy, the possibility of chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus like Down Syndrome, Patau Syndrome and Turner Syndrome. When it was discovered that some cells from the fetus flow through the mother’s blood, it opened new possibilities in prenatal testing. After the 9th week of pregnancy, cell-free DNA or cDNA start circulating in the mother’s blood. The Non-Invasive Prenatal Test analyses this DNA and using that information it detects the potential of chromosomal aberrations in the baby.
NIPT can be performed at any time after the 9th week of your pregnancy. After a simple blood draw, the cell-free DNA in your blood is analysed and after a waiting period of approximately 1-2 weeks, the results are shared with you.
The international society of PreNatal diagnostics recognizes that NIPT can be very useful as a screening test for women of all age brackets. It becomes even more important and essential if you fall under the following segment:
-You’re 35 or older. Expectant mothers who are older than 35 have a greater predisposition of delivering a child with genetic disorders. Hence an NIPT is often recommended for these women.
– Have previously delivered a child with genetic disorder. If a woman has previously delivered a child with chromosomal disorders, then an NIPT is recommended for them.
– Have a family history of genetic disorder. Mothers with a familial history of genetic disorders are also recommended to go for an NIPT.
A positive / high risk report must be confirmed by an invasive test.
How safe is it?
We can assure you that NIPT is an extremely safe prenatal screening test. Why? Let us explain.
-It requires a simple blood draw
That’s right. All that is needed from you is that you stick out your arm and relax while your blood is drawn out by medical professionals. Your work is done. It’s now the job of technicians to analyze your blood and ensure that your baby is developing as it should.
-It is non-invasive
Unlike Amniocentesis or CVS, which are invasive diagnostic tests, NIPT poses no harm to you or your baby because aspiration of the amniotic fluid is not required. Thus, the NIPT does not carry even the slightest risk of miscarriage.
With an accuracy of over 99%, NIPT can predict the probability of genetic malformations in the fetus from as early as the 10th week of pregnancy. The NIPT is a screening test, and if it shows a high probability of a certain chromosomal disorder, your doctor will advise a diagnostic test like Amniocentesis to confirm the diagnosis.
So our dear mothers-to-be, you can now breathe easy knowing that not only do you have a much more accurate alternative to screening tests, but that it is one of the safest prenatal screening tests that can be done. So, what are you waiting for? Book your test here.