Richmond OB-GYN | Bon Secours

Prenatal Diagnosis

A range of tests can evaluate the health of a fetus, placenta, umbilical cord and uterine environment and predict the likelihood of genetic problems.

Screening tests are less invasive, but only predict the likelihood of a problem. A blood test called the quad screen, for instance, looks for biochemical markers of Down Syndrome, so results might be “a 1 in 600 chance of Down Syndrome.” Maternal serum AFP (which measures a protein called alpha-fetoprotein in the mother’s blood) screens for neural tube defects (birth defects like spina bifida where the spinal cord and brain fail to develop).

Ultrasound is used to estimate the age or size of a baby, to look for birth defects or observe a baby’s activity and environment to evaluate well-being. Evaluations of the placenta, uterus and cervix also contribute information about possible risks to the pregnancy.

Diagnostic tests, such as amniocentesis, actually confirm a problem suspected after screening, but are more invasive.
We offer a full spectrum of screening and diagnostic tests. Potential risks, benefits and potential fetal conditions are fully discussed prior to testing.