We offer the following prenatal screening services in order to accurately assess possible fetal health conditions:
To determine if specific genetic disorders may be present in a fetus, we take an ultrasound-guided extraction of a sample of amniotic fluid. The fluid sample, containing cells shed by the fetus, is sent to a lab for analysis.
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
This highly-accurate diagnostic test helps identify chromosome abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, and other inherited disorders, including cystic fibrosis. During a CVS procedure, some of the chorionic villi cells are removed from the placenta where it attaches to the uterine wall. There are two ways to collect these cell samples:
1. Transcervical – ultrasound-guided thin catheter through the cervix
2. Transabdominal – ultrasound-guided thin needle through the abdomen (similar procedure as amniocentesis)
This is a common prenatal test that is used to measure and monitor the fetus’ heart rate, and how that heart rate responds to any fetal movement.
Should a mother’s cervix be at risk of opening under the pressure of a growing pregnancy, her baby is more likely to experience a premature birth. In this case, a cervical cerclage may be needed. In this surgical procedure, the cervix is sewn closed to help a developing baby remain inside the uterus until the mother reaches 37-38 weeks of pregnancy.
Percutaneous Umbilical Cord Blood Sampling (PUBS)
Should a standard ultrasound or amniocentesis provide inconclusive results for chromosomal abnormalities, providers may opt for a more in-depth diagnostic test around the 17th week of pregnancy. A Percutaneous Umbilical Cord Blood Sampling (PUBS), also known as cordocentesis, examines the fetus’ blood to detect fetal abnormalities. During cordocentesis, an ultrasound-guided thin needle is inserted through the abdomen and uterine walls to the umbilical cord, where a small sample of fetal blood is drawn. The blood sample is then sent to a lab for analysis. This procedure is very similar to amniocentesis, except a provider retrieves a blood sample instead of an amniotic fluid sample.
PUBS may also be used to treat a fetus who is anemic for a variety of reasons. Using this technique, the fetus receives a ‘transfusion’, which provides oxygen, nutrients, and helps avoid a premature delivery.
When fetuses are affected with certain birth defects, their production of amniotic fluid is very low. In order to provide the most accurate diagnosis of these abnormalities, saline solution may be infused into the uterus to help visualize the fetus more accurately and provide the most definitive answers for parents.
Fetal Shunt Placement
As opposed to amnioinfusion that helps replenish low levels of amniotic fluid, there are pregnancy complications that require excess fluids to be drained to save organs, including the heart, lungs or kidneys, from damage. Most common is a fetal lower urinary tract obstruction, or LUTO (bladder outlet obstruction). For some of these cases, an ultrasound-guided shunt is inserted through the mother’s abdomen and uterus into the fetus to create an alternate pathway for excess fluids.
For more information about our prenatal screening and diagnostic services, or to schedule an appointment, contact us.