Health & Fitness, Pregnancy, Women Guide

How Many Blood Tests During Pregnancy?

Expectant parents have nothing more to heart than the health of their unborn child. With a blood test, possible chromosome disorders such as trisomy 21, 13 or 18 can be detected as early as the 9th week of pregnancy.

Detect chromosomal abnormalities in the unborn child with prenatal blood tests

This non-invasive prenatal testing (NiPt) as the Praena-, the Panorama and the Harmony test are compared to amniocentesis, a risk-free method to examine the fetus genetically. However, they are increasingly criticized for encouraging abortions.

We present the various blood tests and clarify whether they represent an alternative to amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling.

Praena, Harmony and Panorama: Non-invasive blood test for expectant mothers

For a long time, fruit puncture and chorionic villus sampling were the only ways to examine unborn children for chromosomal abnormalities. For taking a cell sample, the amniotic sac or placenta must be punctured. However, these procedures are not without danger: In rare cases, it can lead to miscarriage or injury to the fetus.

Since 2012, pregnant women with a simple blood test, so only with a small prick in the arm vein of the mother, can determine the risk of trisomy. The blood tests Praena, Harmony and Panorama, differ in the analysis methods, the examined chromosomal disorder, the location of the blood analysis, the hit rate and the costs.

Important to know: The various blood tests only investigate trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome, and trisomy 13 and trisomy 18. Also, the sex of the child can be determined at this early stage. Numerous other developmental disorders, such as an open back, malformations or hereditary diseases cannot be detected with the blood tests.

The various tests do not give one hundred percent certainty that a chromosome anomaly is present. Depending on the manufacturer is the99-99.8 percent rate for trisomy 21. In trisomies 13 and 18, the rate is around 95 percent.

For whom is a blood test useful?

Although the blood test for mother and child is free of risks, of course, not all pregnant women have to perform this fee-based test. It makes sense to test for:

  • Pregnant women with striking values in the first-trimester test
  • Spoilers over the age of 35
  • Pregnant women who have already had a child with trisomy
  • Women with a hereditary disposition for chromosomal abnormalities

Advantages and disadvantages of the blood tests

The advantage of the non-invasive blood tests: Since the blood is taken from the mother’s vein, there is no risk for the unborn child. Also, the blood test can provide a result as early as the 9th week of pregnancy, with the invasive methods, this is only possible from the 11th week of pregnancy. For a reliable result, however, doctors recommend waiting for a blood test for the 11th to 13th week of pregnancy.

Disadvantage: Whether the baby has a chromosome anomaly cannot be determined 100 percent with the blood test. If the result is positive, physicians recommend an additional invasive examination to confirm the outcome. Depending on the progress of the pregnancy, this may be either a chorionic villus sampling (placenta) between the 11th and 13th week of pregnancy or an amniocentesis (amniocentesis) from the 15th to the 17th week of gestation.

Until the result is available, parents usually have to wait up to two weeks for both the blood test and the invasive tests. The so-called FISH test, a quick test in an amniocentesis, provides results after just 48 hours. If you want a faster result in the blood tests, you have to plan additional costs of about 100 Euro. After about a week, the final result is available.

Conclusion: Although the blood tests provide fairly reliable results in possible chromosomal abnormalities, there is still a residual doubt. In the case of a positive result, doctors recommend an invasive examination. An alternative to the bladder and placenta are the blood tests are not.

Cost of prenatal blood tests

The presented non-invasive blood tests are private services that can cost between 200 and 450 euros depending on the provider and the extent of the blood analysis. These costs are usually not covered by the health insurance and must be paid by the expecting parents. Parents can still try to get reimbursed for a positive result of the blood analysis.

If the result is positive: advice for affected parents

A positive test result is a shock to the parents. You are suddenly faced with the question of whether you should stop the pregnancy or live with a disabled child. In addition to a detailed education by the doctors, parents can help variousTake advantage of advice centers. For many, sharing in a support group can be helpful.

BLOOD TEST AT A GLANCE

  • Blood tests can detect the risk of a chromosomal defect
  • Blood is taken from the arm vein of the mother
  • Tests pose no danger to the unborn child
  • Costs between 200 and 450 euros are not covered
  • No alternative to the invasive methods

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