PRENATAL CARE SERVICES
The nine months of pregnancy can be an exciting, yet potentially worrisome time, as you endeavor to protect and maintain the health of your unborn child by making the best possible choices about your prenatal care. Whether this is your first pregnancy, or you are expanding your current family, it is important to select an obstetrician you feel completely comfortable with, and who will address your concerns promptly, effectively, and compassionately.
At the Women’s Medical Center, PC, located in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, our Board Certified Obstetric Specialists have undergone extensive training in all areas of perinatal diagnosis and treatment, and consistently deliver cutting-edge prenatal care services that are reflective of your unique preferences and medical needs. Our well-respected Obstetric staff members make it a priority to keep abreast of the latest advances and developments in prenatal care, and understand the importance of being readily available to our patients, offering flexible scheduling options and remaining accessible to patients before, during, and after the birth.
We offer a variety of prenatal diagnostic screening tests to evaluate potential pre- and/or post-birth complications, and we have established a collaborative working relationship with a network of prenatal specialists who can be called upon to assist with high-risk pregnancies when appropriate.
GENETIC TESTING (CARRIER SCREENING)
Genetic testing (carrier screening) describes the process of testing the blood of prospective or expecting parents to ascertain whether or not there are any genetic irregularities that could potentially be passed on to the unborn child. These tests can help parents feel at ease knowing that they are not carriers of the affected genes, and can give parents who are carriers the opportunity to research the condition, pursue additional prenatal testing to assess the health of their child, and evaluate alternative reproductive options (i.e. adoption, egg or sperm donation). It is important to keep in mind that a ‘positive’ carrier screening result should NOT be considered a diagnosis of any condition—it is simply a means of gauging the potential risk of passing the condition on to the child, and an indication that further testing may be necessary.
MATERNAL SERUM SCREENING
Maternal serum screening is an optional prenatal test that is typically performed during weeks 10-14 of pregnancy. This procedure poses no danger to the mother or fetus, and enables the health care provider to calculate your potential risk of carrying a child with certain chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome (Trisomy 21) or Edwards syndrome (Trisomy 18). Maternal serum screening is not utilized for diagnostic purposes, but rather serves as an indicator that additional diagnostic testing (i.e. chorionic villus sampling, amniocentesis) may be beneficial for patients who present as moderate- or high-risk pregnancies.
A fetal sonogram (ultrasound) exam utilizes high-frequency sound waves to scan a pregnant woman’s pelvic cavity and abdomen in order to produce a picture of the baby and placenta. Fetal ultrasounds are common and safe diagnostic tools in prenatal care, and can be employed to screen for potential complications or fetal abnormalities during pregnancy. There are a number of ultrasound variations, including, but not limited to: 3-D, 4-D, transvaginal, standard, advanced, and Doppler. Ultrasounds are often performed as a complementary procedure, and can be used in conjunction with other diagnostic tests (i.e. amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, blood tests) to more accurately assess or confirm a possible diagnosis.
The indications for an ultrasound exam vary by trimester, and may include:
- First Trimester:
- Confirm heartbeat
- Determine gestational age or abnormal gestation
- Measure the crown-rump length
- Verify viable pregnancy
- Confirm ectopic or molar pregnancy
- Second Trimester:
- Assess fetal health
- Verify structural abnormalities
- Confirm pregnancy with multiples (twins, triplets etc.)
- Evaluate fetal dates and growth
- Verify intrauterine death
- Detect excessive or depleted amniotic fluid levels
- Third Trimester:
- Confirm placental location and fetal presentation
- Assess fetal health and growth
- Monitor fetal movements