Do I need first-trimester screening?
The first complex examination of the baby is carried out long before his birth. So, for a period of 11 to 14 weeks obstetricians-gynecologists recommend practically all of their patients to conduct screening for the first trimester. Do not be frightened by this phrase, with the future mother and child will not do anything terrible. This study includes conventional ultrasound diagnostics and a special blood test from a vein taken from a mother in the laboratory. This is why the first trimester screening is also called a double test.
This period is the most favorable for detecting possible genetic failures in the baby. Based on the results of the analysis and ultrasound, a specialist can identify various malformations of the organs or body systems and predict whether there is a probability that the child has Down syndrome, Klinefelter or Edwards syndrome. The screening of the first trimester shows only the probability of genetic diseases, and in the course of further research they can either be confirmed or disproved.
The principle of this research is based on the fact that during ultrasound the doctor not only looks at the child's legs and hands, but also carries out certain measurements. The length of the baby is measured, its conformity to the age of the fetus is checked. A fairly important indicator is the thickness of the cervical fold - the collar zone. This is the area between the soft tissues and the skin in which the liquid accumulates. Excessive increase in its size indicates a high risk of developing genetic diseases. Also measure the nasal bone: by the end of the 3rd month of pregnancy it should be about 3 mm.
You will certainly be told if the specialist does not like the results of the first trimester screening. Norms of thickness for the collar zone, for example, vary depending on the gestational age: at 11 weeks, its average thickness is 1.2 mm, and at 14 - 1.5 mm. But there is no reason for panic if this zone is 2-2.5 mm. Even if the values are increased, do not panic. Taking into account the fact that the accuracy of measurements depends on the equipment and the level of professionalism of the ultrasound diagnostician, it is useless to evaluate the results of this study without analysis.
In the laboratory, the first trimester screening is a biochemical analysis, during which the content of free b-hCG and plasma protein A (PAPP-A) in the blood of a future mother is examined and compared with the mean values that should be. The laboratory on the form indicates the results and their norms for each week. Only a combination of analyzes and ultrasound results can give a relatively clear picture of how pregnancy is occurring. Screening for the first trimester can not be considered reliable, if only donate blood or just make ultrasound. Moreover, these studies should be done almost in one day, in order to exclude the possibility of error due to the discrepancy of the terms.
Do not give up research just because you are afraid of getting bad results. Even if this happens, no one can force you to stop the pregnancy, you will simply be advised to go to further research to confirm or deny the diagnosis. But if you will know in advance about possible problems, you can appropriately prepare for the birth of a special baby.