Prenatal Diagnosis

Prenatal testing consists of prenatal screening and prenatal diagnosis, which are aspects of prenatal care that focus on detecting problems with the pregnancy as early as possible. These may be anatomic and physiologic problems with the health zygote, embryo, or fetus, either before gestation even starts (as in preimplantation genetic diagnosis) or as early in gestation as practicable. Methods for prenatal diagnosis include ultrasound of the uterus, placenta and the developing foetus. Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) involves getting a sample of the placental tissue, known as chorionic villus. This is tested for chromosomal or genetic disorders.

Amniocentesis

is used to obtain amniotic fluid from the amnion (amniotic sac) surrounding the developing foetus. This fluid enables chromosomes and enzymes to be tested for genetic and other abnormalities. A growing number of

birth defects

and diseases can be diagnosed prenatally, and in some cases may be treated before birth.

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