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Detect Birth Defects

Throughout your pregnancy, your doctor may order several tests to detect potential birth defects. “When we know there are problems, we might be able to take steps to prevent them from worsening,” says Grant D. McWilliams, DO, obstetrician and gynecologist at Saint Francis Medical Center.

When you are between 16 and 20 weeks’ gestation, you will have the option to undergo a “quad screen” – a test that measures proteins and hormones in the blood and can predict the likelihood of certain problems – such as Down syndrome – occurring.

Grant D. McWilliams, DO, FACOG
Grant D. McWilliams, DO, FACOG

If the results are abnormal, your doctor may recommend an amniocentesis – a test in which a small amount of amniotic fluid is removed from the sac surrounding the fetus for testing.

Between 18 and 20 weeks’ gestation, pregnant women undergo an anatomy ultrasound. This test allows the doctor an even better opportunity to view fetal abnormalities and measure growth.  

For more information, call 573-331-3000.

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