Detecting Down Syndrome

A new blood test delivers more reliable results earlier in your pregnancy.
Detect Down Syndrome Sooner Page 1

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At about 16 weeks, chances are your OB will suggest you take a Triple Marker Screening, a blood test to assess your risk of having a baby with Down syndrome. But it only identifies 65% of fetuses with the condition, and other exams like amniocentesis carry a 1 in 200 risk of miscarriage. Now a study from the National Institutes of Health offers another option: nuchal translucency.

Between 10 1/2 and 13 weeks, you receive a blood test plus an ultrasound measuring the skin thickness behind the fetus's neck. "With this method, we found 85% to 90% of cases, and the false positive rate was just 5%," says Ronald Wapner, M.D., director of maternal-fetal medicine and reproductive genetics at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. If you opt for the test, look for a technician certified by the Fetal Medicine Foundation.

Baby Care Basics: What is Down Syndrome?
Baby Care Basics: What is Down Syndrome?

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Copyright © 2002. Reprinted with permission from the May 2002 issue of Child magazine.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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