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What to Expect at Your 10-12 Week Prenatal Appointment

prenatal ultrasound photo

Congratulations, you’re pregnant! If you’re already a parent, you know what to expect, but if this is your first child, navigating through pregnancy can be a mysterious process. Once you reach 10-12 weeks, genetic testing, screening ultrasounds, and gender identification are offered at your appointment. Even if you have been through this appointment in the past with previous pregnancies, genetic testing and screenings can be overwhelming and scary. Don’t let the tests scare you! They are available to ensure both your health and that of your baby.

Screening Ultrasound

A screening ultrasound, called a Nuchal translucency scan, is performed to evaluate for certain fetal problems. Screening tests do not diagnose a birth defect, they determine the risk. This scan measures the baby’s nuchal translucency, the fluid-filled space at the back of your baby’s neck. The results of the scan show your baby’s risk of a chromosomal abnormality like Down Syndrome, heart defects, or other complications. The Nuchal translucency scan is not the only factor in calculating the risk of a chromosomal abnormality. Other factors are the mother’s age, the gestational age of the baby, blood tests, and the Nuchal translucency measurement of the baby.

Genetic Testing

Believe it or not, pieces of your baby’s DNA circulate in your bloodstream! This is why NIPT (non-invasive prenatal test) is performed. NIPT is a prenatal screening, which looks at DNA from your baby’s placenta in a sample of your blood to identify whether you’re at increased risk of giving birth to a child with a genetic disorder. The results of a NIPT test can help the doctor and you decide if further testing is needed or not. The test is safe for you and the baby since it only needs a quick blood draw to be completed.

Finding out the Sex

If you have NIPT done, the sex of the baby can also be determined since the test examines chromosomes. Make sure to discuss with your doctor if you want to find out during this test, you can also find out the sex during your later ultrasound that is usually done between 12-18 weeks.

We’re Here for You

Pregnancy is a beautiful and busy time of your life! Several tests are available in your first and second trimesters to provide information on the genetic health of your developing baby. But all this testing can be confusing and can cause anxiety. The key thing to remember is that testing itself does not make the pregnancy healthy or unhealthy. We gather information from every pregnant patient to look for issues that may cause problems. Our OBs at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists are help you navigate through your pregnancy journey. Call us at 770.720.7733 or make an appointment online.