Prenatal tests are done during pregnancy to track the health of you and your baby. The tests can find many health problems early. Screening tests include:
Tests can be used to look for:
- Treatable health problems in the pregnant person that can harm the baby's health such as:
- If the pregnant person is protected from certain health problems such as chickenpox or German measles
- Size, age, and sex of the baby
- Where the baby is in the uterus
- Problems with genes
Tests can show problems in the genes. That could mean the baby is at higher risk of having:
- Down syndrome, trisomy 18, and trisomy 13—the risk of these gets higher with the age of the parents
- Huntington disease and achondroplasia
- Cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, Tay-Sachs disease, and beta thalassemia
- Spina bifida and problems with brain and skull growth
- Heart problems
Medicine has made a lot of progress in finding health issues in pregnancy. But prenatal tests cannot test for all possible problems. Only some problems can be treated.Why is prenatal testing performed?What are the different types of prenatal tests?What questions should I ask my doctor about prenatal testing?Where can I get more information about prenatal testing?
Hsiao, C.H., Chen, C.H., et al. The impact of prenatal screening on prenatal diagnosis in Taiwan from 2006 to 2019: a regional cohort study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 2022; 22: 23.
Prenatal testing. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: https://americanpregnancy.org/prenatal-testing. Accessed March 23, 2022.
Prenatal tests. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/prenatal-tests.html. Accessed March 23, 2022.
Routine prenatal care. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/management/routine-prenatal-care-36. Accessed March 23, 2022.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Mary-Beth Seymour, RN
- Review Date: 03/2022
- Update Date: 03/24/2022