Been advised Amniocentesis? Read this before you do it


As an expectant mother, wanting to ensure that your baby is safe in the womb is quite natural. To rule out the possibilities of the baby having genetic abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome, doctors might prescribe a suitable screening test during pregnancy. The risk factors that emphasize the need for these tests include high maternal age or recurrent miscarriages.

The first level of screening is a biochemical test done using a sample of the pregnant mother’s blood.  If the results of this test turn out to be abnormal , it is natural that any expectant mother and her family feel pretty perturbed as to what to do next.  However, nothing is conclusive with just the biochemical parameters being abnormal. The probable percentage of a baby being diagnosed with an abnormality is only 60-65% with a biochemical screening. The doctor makes his/ her progressive decision based on the other soft markers such as Nuchal Translucency report and formation of the nasal bone of the baby, which are detected through an ultrasound, and the fetal heart rate.

The assessment of the biochemical assays along with these specific soft markers listed above is commonly known as the combined screening. This can increase the sensitivity of our detection rate to better values.

If the combined screening also features some abnormality then the doctor might suggest a diagnostic test called amniocentesis. Amniocentesis confirms whether the baby is free from chromosomal abnormalities. The test is done using a sample of the intrauterine amniotic fluid.Amniotic fluid sampling can be done either by transabdominal or transvaginal routes by inserting a needle during the 15 to 22 week of pregnancy into the womb. This test gives us 94-96% conclusive detection of chromosomal abnormalities. However, despite the high accuracy of the test, the process of collection of amniotic fluid sample from the mother’s womb poses a 1% risk of miscarriage. Without a conclusive diagnostic test such as amniocentesis, neither you nor your doctor can make an informed decision about continuance of your pregnancy.

To ease the anxiety of such parents who are highly confused whether to  proceed with an invasive test such as amniocentesis, BabyShield in collaboration with LifeCodexx as its technological partner, offers a breakthrough solution. Fortunately, BabyShield has introduced its 98% accurate test called the NIPT (Non-Invasive Prenatal Test).

NIPT is a test done using the maternal blood, so the sample collection process is non-invasive, easy and does not cause any risk of abortion to the baby. Now with the latest non- sequencing technique, the turnaround time to obtain the results is considerably less than 24 hours, thus it salvages the parents from severe panic and anxiety.

NIPT assesses the samples for 5 most common chromosomal anomalies such as trisomy 21, 13, 18 and sex linked chromosomal conditions such as Kleinfelter’s syndrome and Turner’s syndrome. The sensitivity of the test is high as 98% because this test infers its diagnosis basis DNA analysis. NIPT can also be done as early as 4 weeks of pregnancy, thus it can help expectant parents to take an informed decision on continuance of pregnancy at an early phase.

BabyShield has packaged  the combined screening test with NIPT at a subsidized cost. In case there is an abnormal variance in any of the biochemical protein assays and/or the ultrasound, the lab would by default switch to the more reliable  test called NIPT for the sample sent. Thus, this novelty of strategic packaging of test by BabyShield has made numerous expectant couples to safeguard their baby in the womb from being exposed to the risk of amniocentesis.

If you are advised amniocentesis, make sure to ask your doctor about Non-Invasive Prenatal Test.


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