How much trust to put in prenatal screenings?

pregnant-woman.jpgExpectant moms are often recommended prenatal screenings – such as blood tests and targeted ultrasounds – to determine whether their babies are at higher risk for certain chromosomal abnormalities, metabolic or hereditary disorders.

But what happens when those fetal screenings turn out to be inaccurate?

An expectant friend and SouthernMamas reader recently spent one and a half weeks believing her unborn baby had a one in 37 chance of Down Syndrome because that’s what the initial screening showed. Then she and her husband were told the baby wasn’t at risk for Down Syndrome, but the much more risky Edward’s Syndrome.

An ultrasound eventually showed that the quad screening was wrong and the baby has no signs of Edward’s.

I can’t begin to imagine the emotional rollercoaster this couple has been on.

Their story shows the importance of remembering that prenatal screenings are just that, screenings. They aren’t tests and they can’t accurately diagnose problems. Best to do as much research as you can and be aware of the high rate of false positives.

Prenatal testing – amniocentesis and chronic villus sampling – offer more definitive answers, but are more invasive than prenatal screenings and can carry some risk of miscarriage and complications.

Would love to know your take on prenatal screenings. How much trust do you put in them? Would you prefer to know something is wrong before the birth so you could prepare? Do you want the peace of mind? Or are such screenings not worth the risk of false positives?

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