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Obstetrical Services


Pregnancy Testing

AFP Quad Genetic Screen

The AFP Quad Screen is a blood test that helps to identify pregnancies that may be at risk for certain types of birth defects or chromosomal abnormalities. The test is available to women between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. The defects most commonly identified are open neural tube defects (NTDs) affecting the brain (called anencephaly), or the spine (called spina bifida). About 1-2 out of every 1,000 babies are born with a NTD and up to 90% are born to families who have never had a baby with this type of birth defect. The AFP Quad Screen will detect about 85% of open NTD’s.

The AFP Quad Screen has also been useful for screening for Down’s Syndrome. Down’s Syndrome is a genetic (chromosome) disorder that occurs in about 1 out of 800 births and is characterized by mental retardation and other serious birth defects. The AFP Quad Screen will detect approximately 75% of all Down’s Syndrome pregnancies.

The AFP Quad Screen is used as a screening test only. “Screen Positive” simply indicates the need to look more closely at your pregnancy. It DOES NOT necessarily mean that your baby has a birth defect or the other problems. A “Screen Positive” usually warrants a referral for genetic counseling, ultrasound, and possible amniocentesis to help determine the cause for the abnormal test. Likewise, it is important to understand that this test does not identify all birth defects and that a “Screen Negative” cannot guarantee a normal baby at birth.

First Trimester Genetic Screen

A First Trimester Genetic Screen is a test that includes an early ultrasound (11 – 13w6d) along with blood work to evaluate for chromosomal abnormalities. I have read the brochure on First Trimester Genetic Screening and understand that it detects babies at risk for chromosomal abnormalities such as Downs Syndrome, Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13.

This test substitutes for the AFP Quad screen, but does not screen for Spina Bifida. I also understand that a normal First Trimester Genetic Screen does not eliminate the possibility of chromosomal abnormalities but reduces the risk.


I have had an opportunity to ask questions about ultrasound, and it is my understanding that, to date, it is considered safe. Extensive research, testing, and experience have shown no adverse effects on the mother or baby. I understand the purpose of the examination is to evaluate the general well being of the fetus and pregnancy. Important information obtained in this ultrasound includes the number of fetuses, placental location, and amount of amniotic fluid and confirmation of the due date. However, a normal ultrasound does not predict a normal outcome to the pregnancy. Conditions or abnormalities may exist that this ultrasound will not diagnose.


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