Prenatal tests are important before the birth of the baby. Here’s what couples should know

The couple is often advised to opt for non-invasive prenatal tests (NIPT) and parents often have queries related to the benefits of prenatal screening and to making an informed choice to better understand the health status of the baby but you should not worry anymore as we tell you everything you want to know about this test. NIPT, also known as non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS), helps to know the risk that the foetus will be born with certain chromosomal disorders, such as Down syndrome (trisomy 21).

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Priya Deshpande, Consultant Foetal Medicine at Motherhood Hospital in Kharghar, explained, “By doing this test, it is possible to know if there is high risk of the baby having any chromosomal abnormalities. This test will detect small fragments of DNA that are circulating in a pregnant woman’s blood, which is called cell-free DNA (cfDNA).”

She elaborated, “NIPT is non-invasive as it is done by taking blood from the pregnant woman to test whether a foetus has a genetic condition and does not pose any risk to the foetus. This test is a boon as it will help the couple to relax and understand the baby’s health.”

Revealing who should opt for NIPT, she said, “Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) is important for pregnant women during pregnancies. It can be done by singleton pregnancies, twin pregnancies, and in vitro fertilization (IVF) pregnancies.” Talking about the conditions that are screened for NIPT, she said, “Conditions such as Trisomy 21, Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13, Sex Chromosome Aneuploidies (XO, XXY, XXX, XYY), Rare Autosome Aneuploidies (Trisomy 9, Trisomy 16, Trisomy 22) can be screened with the help of this test. This test screens the high-risk foetuses with 99% sensitivity for Trisomy 21. In case of high risk further invasive tests like chorion villous biopsy or amniocentesis are recommended to have a definitive diagnosis.”

Throwing light on what exactly is chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis, Dr Priya Deshpande said, “CVS means a prenatal diagnostic test in which a sample of chorionic villi is taken from the placenta for testing. Moreover, amniocentesis is a procedure in which amniotic fluid is sampled in order to test it. Are you aware? Amniotic fluid helps to safeguard the baby during pregnancy. The last word: The result of the tests are kept confidential and all data will remain anonymous during analysis. Only the patient’s doctor will know about the result. So, the patient should not worry at all.”