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A glossary of some prenatal tests currently in use

March 19, 2012
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Nuchal translucency scan: Conducted by ultrasound between about weeks 11 and 14, it looks for fluid buildup on the back of a fetus’s neck to evaluate risk of a chromosomal disorder.

Integrated screening: Combines the results of the nuchal translucency ultrasound with blood tests from the first and second trimesters to determine risk of disorders.

MPSS: Massively parallel shotgun sequencing, screening tests to evaluate fetal DNA in the bloodstream of mothers at higher risk for having a baby with a disorder.

Chorionic villus sampling: Performed between 10 and 12 weeks ; a needle is inserted through the abdomen or a plastic tube through the cervix to collect a sample from the placenta to make a diagnosis.

Amniocentesis: Performed typically between 15 and 18 weeks; a needle is inserted into a woman’s belly to collect a sample of amniotic fluid to make a diagnosis.

Microarray testing: Samples taken during CVS or amniocentesis are given a more detailed genetic analysis.

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