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First Trimester Screening Tips

First Trimester Screening - Why Is It Necessary?

Dr. Sumati Saxena 89% (19 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Gynaecologist, Allahabad
First Trimester Screening - Why Is It Necessary?

A healthy pregnancy is one where the mother and the child both enjoys good physical and mental health. While all parents wish their child to be in the pink of health, incidences of birth-defects are on the rise. This makes the screening tests, especially during the first trimester, very important. These tests play a significant role in determining the well-being of a pregnant woman and also in the diagnosis of any abnormalities, especially chromosomal or genetic aberrations that can give rise to a host of problems including Trisomy 18 or Down Syndrome in the baby. In this article, we will discuss some of the first-trimester screening tests and their significance.

The screening tests involve a series of blood tests (maternal blood) and ultrasound scans to monitor the movement and development of the fetus.

  1. Maternal blood tests: The proteins PAPP-A (pregnancy-associated plasma protein A) and Free ß-HCG (free-beta human chorionic gonadotropin protein) are produced during the early stages of pregnancy by the placenta. These proteins play a pivotal role in ensuring the well being of the fetus and should ideally be present in a slightly elevated level. A maternal blood test showing a low concentration of PAPP-A and free ß-HCG is often indicative of chromosomal abnormalities or genetic defects in the baby.
  2. Nuchal translucency screening test: A characteristic symptom of Down Syndrome is an increased thickness, especially at the back of the neck. In Nuchal translucency screening (during the first trimester), an ultrasound of the back of the fetal neck is done to check its thickness and also to look for any unwanted accumulation of fluids, both of which contributes significantly in the diagnosis of Down Syndrome.
  3. In some incidences, there may be a combined first-trimester screening (an amalgamation of Nuchal translucency screening and maternal blood tests). The probability of the baby suffering from the chromosomal aberrations such as Down Syndrome, Trisomy 13, can be more precisely determined by the combined screening.

In case the individual or the combined screening tests indicate some abnormalities, few other tests may be carried out such as

  1. Amniocentesis: The test involves collecting a sample of the amniotic fluid (the fluid present inside the amniotic sac and acts as a protective shield for the fetus ensuring healthy fetal development) and examining the cells present in it for chromosomal defects (number as well as structure). Amniocentesis is normally carried out between the 15th-20th week of pregnancy.
  2. Chorionic Villus Sampling: Like Amniocentesis, Chorionic Villus Sampling is also a prenatal diagnostic test that plays an instrumental role in the evaluation of the fetal karyotype that goes a long way in the diagnosis of chromosomal and genetic disorders.

Benefits of First-trimester Screening
The screening tests during the first-trimester comes as a blessing, especially under the following situations

  1. Either of the partners is a carrier of the Down-syndrome (or similar genetic disorder) gene.
  2. You already have a child with a genetic or chromosomal disorder.
  3. Women having a late pregnancy (35 years or more).
2660 people found this helpful

Screening For Chromosomal Abnormalities In First Trimester - Why It Is Important?

Dr. Sujata Agrawal 89% (138 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, Diploma In Ultrasound, Fellowship In Laproscopy
Gynaecologist, Delhi
Screening For Chromosomal Abnormalities In First Trimester - Why It Is Important?

First-trimester screening is a prenatal test. It is conducted to get early information about a baby's risk of certain chromosomal conditions. It can detect conditions like Down syndrome (trisomy 21) and extra sequences of chromosome 18 (Trisomy 18).

It is usually conducted in two steps:

  1. Blood test
  2. Followed by USG

Initially, a blood test is conducted to ascertain the levels of two pregnancy specific substances in the mother's blood. The blood is tested for pregnancy associated plasma protein and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Thereafter, a USG is done to find out the size of the clear space in the tissue that is present at the back of the foetus’s neck.

The screening is done between weeks 11 and 14 of pregnancy. The doctor is able to gauge the risk of your baby having Down syndrome or Trisomy 18 by using your age and results of the test. This screening is quite helpful and can guard you against deadly consequences in the future. Down syndrome is known to cause impairments in the mental and social development of the child. Trisomy 18 gets often fatal by age 1. However, first screening doesn’t find out the risk of neural tube defects.

It is the first screening done in pregnancy. It can be done before any other screening. Thus, the results are known at an early stage. You will get time to think about the future consequences can help you in deciding your course of action and the decision to either continue or terminate the pregnancy. You will be ready to know and decide whether you will be able to live and take care of a baby with special needs. You can conduct other screenings later in pregnancy. You must know that first-trimester screening is treated as being optional. It can detect the risk and cannot tell you whether your baby has the problems in real or not.


Often women get worried about the test and it’s after effects. However, there is no need to worry. It will not harm your pregnancy. The foetus remains untouched and safe during the screening. It will not lead to any miscarriage or any other complication.

A practitioner will collect your blood by inserting a needle into your veins. The blood is then sent for testing to the lab. You can resume your usual daily activities. The ultrasound will need you to lie on your back on a table and the technician will put a transducer on your abdomen. The sound waves will be changed into digital images that the technician will refer to. You can get back to your normal routine as soon as the test is over.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3711 people found this helpful

Chromosomal Abnormalities - Why Get It Screened In The First Trimester?

Motherhood 88% (259 ratings)
Speciality Birthing Care
Gynaecologist, Bangalore
Chromosomal Abnormalities - Why Get It Screened In The First Trimester?

First-trimester screening is a prenatal test. It is conducted to get early information about a baby's risk of certain chromosomal conditions. It can detect conditions like Down syndrome (trisomy 21) and extra sequences of chromosome 18 (Trisomy 18).

It is usually conducted in two steps:

  1. Blood test
  2. Followed by USG

Initially, a blood test is conducted to ascertain the levels of two pregnancy specific substances in the mother's blood. The blood is tested for pregnancy associated plasma protein and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Thereafter, a USG is done to find out the size of the clear space in the tissue that is present at the back of the foetus’s neck.

The screening is done between weeks 11 and 14 of pregnancy. The doctor is able to gauge the risk of your baby having Down syndrome or Trisomy 18 by using your age and results of the test. This screening is quite helpful and can guard you against deadly consequences in the future. Down syndrome is known to cause impairments in the mental and social development of the child. Trisomy 18 gets often fatal by age 1. However, first screening doesn’t find out the risk of neural tube defects.



It is the first screening done in pregnancy. It can be done before any other screening. Thus, the results are known at an early stage. You will get time to think about the future consequences can help you in deciding your course of action and the decision to either continue or terminate the pregnancy. You will be ready to know and decide whether you will be able to live and take care of a baby with special needs. You can conduct other screenings later in pregnancy. You must know that first-trimester screening is treated as being optional. It can detect the risk and cannot tell you whether your baby has the problems in real or not.

Often women get worried about the test and it’s after effects. However, there is no need to worry. It will not harm your pregnancy. The foetus remains untouched and safe during the screening. It will not lead to any miscarriage or any other complication.

A practitioner will collect your blood by inserting a needle into your veins. The blood is then sent for testing to the lab. You can resume your usual daily activities. The ultrasound will need you to lie on your back on a table and the technician will put a transducer on your abdomen. The sound waves will be changed into digital images that the technician will refer to. You can get back to your normal routine as soon as the test is over.

5783 people found this helpful

Why Screening For Chromosomal Abnormalities In First Trimester Is Important?

Dr. Masooma H Merchant 89% (320 ratings)
DGO, Diploma In Family planning (UK), MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
Why Screening For Chromosomal Abnormalities In First Trimester Is Important?

First-trimester screening is a prenatal test. It is conducted to get early information about a baby's risk of certain chromosomal conditions. It can detect conditions like Down syndrome (trisomy 21) and extra sequences of chromosome 18 (Trisomy 18).

It is usually conducted in two steps:

  1. Blood test
  2. Followed by USG

Initially, a blood test is conducted to ascertain the levels of two pregnancy specific substances in the mother's blood. The blood is tested for pregnancy associated plasma protein and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Thereafter, a USG is done to find out the size of the clear space in the tissue that is present at the back of the foetus’s neck.

The screening is done between weeks 11 and 14 of pregnancy. The doctor is able to gauge the risk of your baby having Down syndrome or Trisomy 18 by using your age and results of the test. This screening is quite helpful and can guard you against deadly consequences in the future. Down syndrome is known to cause impairments in the mental and social development of the child. Trisomy 18 gets often fatal by age 1. However, first screening doesn’t find out the risk of neural tube defects.


It is the first screening done in pregnancy. It can be done before any other screening. Thus, the results are known at an early stage. You will get time to think about the future consequences can help you in deciding your course of action and the decision to either continue or terminate the pregnancy. You will be ready to know and decide whether you will be able to live and take care of a baby with special needs. You can conduct other screenings later in pregnancy. You must know that first-trimester screening is treated as being optional. It can detect the risk and cannot tell you whether your baby has the problems in real or not.

Often women get worried about the test and it’s after effects. However, there is no need to worry. It will not harm your pregnancy. The foetus remains untouched and safe during the screening. It will not lead to any miscarriage or any other complication.

A practitioner will collect your blood by inserting a needle into your veins. The blood is then sent for testing to the lab. You can resume your usual daily activities. The ultrasound will need you to lie on your back on a table and the technician will put a transducer on your abdomen. The sound waves will be changed into digital images that the technician will refer to. You can get back to your normal routine as soon as the test is over.

5 people found this helpful

Importance of Pre-natal screening

Dr. Aradhana Aggarwal 90% (57 ratings)
MS - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Fellowship in Fetal Medicine
Gynaecologist, Amritsar
Importance of Pre-natal screening

More than 90% of pregnancies continue towards a healthy outcome. However, to have a normal pregnancy one must have a retrospective diagnosis for the same and this invariably may be associated with multiple questions from both the parents and close family members. Hence pre-natal screening in several forms allows early prediction of possible problems which may or may not be genetic/inherited. Cases are thus segregated as either high risk or low risk pregnancies and with the aid of specialized FMF- UK accredited softwares we are able to offer the  surveillance required on an individual basis. 

Maintained international standards of fetal care.

First trimester screening is a combination of fetal ultrasound and maternal blood tests. The ultrasound is done between 11- 13 +6 weeks and is performed by a FMF accredited operator. The blood test is performed on FMF approved bio-chemical assay systems and measures two hormones, beta- HCG and PAPP-A. 

The combination of the nuchal translucency and the blood test is known as the combined first trimester screening test which has a 93-95% sensitivity in predicting the risk of chromosomal abnormalities, the most common of which is Down syndrome.

A specific set of guidelines has been formulated for performing the nuchal translucency , cervical, anomaly and fetal well being scans including fetal Dopplers. A scan done as per guidelines helps calculate the risks for aneuploidies (chromosomal abnormalities) and prognosticate the pregnancy for the risk of pre-eclampsia and/or pre-term labour in order to continue a stress free pregnancy both for the mother and near and dear ones!

The need for a CVS or an Amniocentesis

The results of the first trimester combined screening test are available in a weeks time. It provides us with the risks (probability) for the fetus having any chromosomal abnormality. As per guideline, an invasive prenatal test in the form of CVS (chorionic villous sampling) 10-12 weeks or amniocentesis , beyond 16 weeks is offered as a diagnostic test if the risks are higher than 1 in 150. Though these tests carry a risk of miscarriage , 0.5-1%, they are 100% diagnostic for certain chromosomal abnormalities. It is for you to decide whether or not the risk of having a chromosomal abnormality is high enough to warrant having an invasive test. 

 

 

4 people found this helpful

First Trimester - Things You Need To Care!

Dr. Himani Sharma 85% (23 ratings)
MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Gynaecologist, Jaipur
First Trimester - Things You Need To Care!

Becoming a mother is a special feeling. This can be best explained by only those women who start feeling their babies inside them from the very early stage of pregnancy. These nine months, for a mother to be would need extra care and she has to take precaution of each and every type. In the first trimester or the first three months of your pregnancy detection, you need to take certain precautions. Here are some of the ways in which you can make yourself and your baby secure during the first three months of your pregnancy.

  1. Double check your pregnancy: There have been many cases of false pregnancies during this time. It is thus best to double check that you are really pregnant so as to avoid a heart break later on. Most home tests are accurate but if you are still unsure, you might want to wait another week after taking your first test and then take a second one. Alternately, you can also go and visit a doctor and take their advice to confirm that you really are pregnant.
  2. Prenatal vitamin: Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, it is time for you to start taking your prenatal vitamins. These vitamins have enough folic acid which is required by the to-be mother to conceive. These vitamins also help in the development of the baby and protect it from developing any birth defects.
  3. Arrange for a health insurance: Medical bills can be very costly in contemporary times. Thus, if you are pregnant then it is best to start looking for health insurance schemes which cover pregnancy and delivery cost. This procedure might take sometime to finish and thus it is best to start the process in your first trimester.
  4. Choose a doctor: If you already know a doctor who specialises in delivery and pregnancy then you need not worry. But in case you do not have enough information then it is time you start looking for an experienced doctor. You can consult your friends and family members and choose a doctor whom you find appropriate for you. You should also consult a doctor by the time you are two months pregnant in order to get the necessary vaccines and other advice.
  5. Quit bad habits: Smoking, drinking and too much of coffee would damage the development of your child. Thus, you must try and quit all of them to deliver a healthy baby.

Thus, these are the five most important precautions that you need to take in your first trimester in order to ensure a healthy delivery ahead.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3769 people found this helpful

First Trimester - Things You Must Take Care of!

Dr. Apoorva Pallam Reddy 94% (226 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecology, DNB (Obstetrics and Gynecology)
Gynaecologist, Bangalore
First Trimester - Things You Must Take Care of!

Becoming a mother is a special feeling. This can be best explained by only those women who start feeling their babies inside them from the very early stage of pregnancy. These nine months, for a mother to be would need extra care and she has to take precaution of each and every type. In the first trimester or the first three months of your pregnancy detection, you need to take certain precautions. Here are some of the ways in which you can make yourself and your baby secure during the first three months of your pregnancy.

  1. Double check your pregnancy: There have been many cases of false pregnancies during this time. It is thus best to double check that you are really pregnant so as to avoid a heart break later on. Most home tests are accurate but if you are still unsure, you might want to wait another week after taking your first test and then take a second one. Alternately, you can also go and visit a doctor and take their advice to confirm that you really are pregnant.
  2. Prenatal vitamin: Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, it is time for you to start taking your prenatal vitamins. These vitamins have enough folic acid which is required by the to-be mother to conceive. These vitamins also help in the development of the baby and protect it from developing any birth defects.
  3. Arrange for a health insurance: Medical bills can be very costly in contemporary times. Thus, if you are pregnant then it is best to start looking for health insurance schemes which cover pregnancy and delivery cost. This procedure might take sometime to finish and thus it is best to start the process in your first trimester.
  4. Choose a doctor: If you already know a doctor who specialises in delivery and pregnancy then you need not worry. But in case you do not have enough information then it is time you start looking for an experienced doctor. You can consult your friends and family members and choose a doctor whom you find appropriate for you. You should also consult a doctor by the time you are two months pregnant in order to get the necessary vaccines and other advice.
  5. Quit bad habits: Smoking, drinking and too much of coffee would damage the development of your child. Thus, you must try and quit all of them to deliver a healthy baby.

Thus, these are the five most important precautions that you need to take in your first trimester in order to ensure a healthy delivery ahead.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

5483 people found this helpful

First Trimester Of Pregnancy

Dr. Richa Sharma 92% (216 ratings)
MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, MBBS, FNB Reproductive Medicine, MRCOG
IVF Specialist, Mumbai
First Trimester Of Pregnancy

Nausea and vomiting can cause weight loss during the first trimester of pregnancy but there is nothing to worry about it.

1 person found this helpful

First Trimester Of Pregnancy!

Dr. Pooja Choudhary 90% (356 ratings)
MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, MBBS
Gynaecologist, Delhi
First Trimester Of Pregnancy!

Nausea and vomiting can cause weight loss during the first trimester of pregnancy but there is nothing to worry about it.

First Trimester - Things You Must Take Care Of!

Dr. Parag Patil 90% (994 ratings)
MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, MBBS
Gynaecologist, Navi Mumbai
First Trimester - Things You Must Take Care Of!

During the first three months of your pregnancy, you need to take immense care of yourself; especially if this is your first pregnancy. There are a few mandatory guidelines which need to be followed while you are in your first trimester. These guidelines are explained in detail below: 

  1. Make sure you are really pregnant: When you are first diagnosed with pregnancy, it is always recommended that you double check the fact. This is because there are increasing cases of false pregnancies, especially when Home Urine Pregnancy Kits are used which are bought from medical stores. Thus, when you do find out that you are pregnant, it is best to visit a clinic or Gynecologist and recheck it once for mental satisfaction and complete confirmation. For a proper Urine Pregnancy test, early morning first sample of urine is utilised. 
  2. Make sure you have a health insurance: If you have never worried about health insurance, then this is the time that you think about it seriously. Pregnancy vitamins, medications, procedures, vaccinations, and the delivery itself usher in a lot of financial burden. Thus, it is best to get your medical insurance at hand. The benefits of this can be availed whenever you need it and it can save you from drilling a hole in your pocket. Health Insurance for Pregnancy is NOT offered by all companies, so find the ones which offer you this facility and if needed change your insurance provider. For those who are employed, and are having Group insurance, usually the insurance benefits are offered by the companies, so they are covered. But one must need to confirm it from your insurance agents/company. 
  3. Take your vitamins regularly: During your pregnancy period, your body goes through a lot of hormonal and physical changes. Hence, certain mild vitamin tablets, health supplements and the like are prescribed to be taken regularly. Some vitamins like Folic acid are required for the baby’s development and in some women who don’t take folic acid tablets a higher incidence of neurologic defects are noted. So to avoid any untoward fetal developmental effects taking Folic acid is the least one can do. Don’t take any “Over the Counter “ vitamins from a medical store or those marketed by MLM groups under various false promises. Your gynaecologist will prescribe the right and adequate ones. Seeing a Gynaecologist and having the pregnancy process under supervision is the easiest way to better outcome. Taking excess vitamins is in no way beneficial so avoid “self-medication”. 
  4. Quit smoking and drinking: Smoking and drinking affect the health of the fetus adversely. Thus, mothers-to-be are advised to give up smoking and drinking at least till their pregnancy period is over. The toxic fumes of the smoke affect the growth of the growing foetus, and also causes problems with the development of placenta which provides nourishment to the baby. Drinks too hinder the development of the child. Thus, these two must be primarily avoided till the foetus develops and the baby is delivered. If a mother-to-be indulges in these habits during the pregnancy, then the child might have development complications and the pregnancy would turn into a complicated one. 

Hence, these are some of the major know how’s of taking care during the first trimester of your pregnancy. This is a period which needs to be enjoyed to the core as you are going to step into a new role, that of a mother. But, you also need to be cautious of your health and even the slightest uneasiness must be reported immediately, lest it develops into something complicated in the future. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.

2518 people found this helpful
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