Not every woman will choose to have prenatal screening. The decision is a personal one. You may want to think about some of the following questions when making your decision:
- Do you want to know if your baby has Down syndrome, trisomy 18 or an open neural tube defect before the baby is born?
- If your prenatal screen result was screen positive for one of these conditions, would you continue with diagnostic testing such as amniocentesis, which is associated with a risk (1 in 200) of miscarriage?
- What would you do if diagnostic tests showed that your baby had one of these conditions? Would you continue the pregnancy? Would you want to know in order to prepare for the birth of a child with special needs? Would you consider ending the pregnancy? Would you consider giving the baby up for adoption?
- How will this information affect your feelings throughout your pregnancy? Would it cause you too much worry?
Remember, you can choose whether or not you will have prenatal screening.
Here are some other things you may want to think about:
- Most women have a prenatal screen result showing chances are low for Down syndrome, trisomy 18 or an open neural tube defect.
- Although some women will have a screen positive result, most of them will not have a baby with Down syndrome, trisomy 18 or an open neural tube defect.
- Prenatal screening will detect most babies with these conditions, but not all of them.
- The chance of having a screen positive result for Down syndrome or trisomy 18 increases as a woman ages.
- Occasionally, prenatal screening may detect other medical conditions in your baby.
- No test can detect every type of physical or mental complication.
- Most babies are born healthy. However, every woman, no matter what her age, has a 2 – 3% chance of having a baby with some kind of complication found at birth. Examples are heart defect, cleft lip or extra toes.