Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Quad Screen During Pregnancy

I think one of the most frightening thins of pregnancy is the constant worry of "what if something is wrong with my baby?" Luckily for modern parents, there are now some simple tests which can help put our minds at ease.

The fact is that most pregnancies will go smoothly enough and produce healthy, normal infants. But the fear remains, what if you are the one who has a child with a neural tube defect or Down's syndrome? A simple blood screening at about 18 weeks gestation can be just the thing to set your mind at ease or start preparing you if there might be something wrong.

The Quad Screen is a simple maternal blood test that looks at the levels of certain hormones in your blood which are considered to be indicators of genetic problems leading to Neural tube defects and Down's syndrome. It used to be that parents would have to go through the invasive amniocenteses and it's risks of miscarriage because it collected amniotic fluid from the amniotic sac. Not only is the Quad screen extremely low risk (it doesn't even take much blood) but it gives an indication of whether further testing is needed.

A positive result on the quad screen indicates that there is a possibility of a genetic abnormality with the baby. The test needs to be followed up on through amnio in order to have a conclusive result and can sometimes be a false positive... the further testing will help with that.

If your result is negative you can be fairly certain that your child does not have Down's syndrome or neural tube defects, and you can set your mind at ease about those things at least, and focus more on the happy preparations of the newest addition to your family!


itstheri said...

My wife had her 18 week quad screen and it came back negative. Today she had a ultra sounfd where they check out the physical structure of the baby. Everything measured normal but there wasa little hilite on the heart which they said was one possible (pretty slim) indicator of downs. they want her to do a level 2 ultra sound to rule out that possibility. there were no other indicators. Should we be concerned about our baby having downs?

Juliette, Eric and Lily said...

hmm. I'm not a doctor so I don't guess I can give you a great answer to this question. I can only tell you what I hope I'd try to do; I'd get the 2nd test and try really hard to not worry about it. I know it's impossible to not worry about something like that, but if the DR says it's a really slim chance of indicating a problem I'd try to believe him and take comfort in the fact that the vast majority of pregnancies turn out well and end with healthy moms and babies. Hope that helps and good luck!