Tests. Part 1

Posted by Lloyd on April 28, 2012
Women's Health

Will I have an ultrasound during the pregnancy and can it tell me the sex?

The American College of Obstetrics lists 27 reasons for ultrasound examination (sonogram) in pregnancy. Many doctors will perform a vaginal ultrasound in the first trimester (12 weeks) to determine if the pregnancy is alive, when you are due, and how many fetuses there are. Little else can be determined at this point. A second trimester ultrasound may also be performed but this time abdominally, to rule out structural problems with the fetus, to find out where the placenta is located, to see the amount of amniotic fluid, and after 16 weeks, to reliably determine the gender or sex of the baby.

Not all doctors will perform both or even either of these exams. Determining factors may be your individual circumstance or your insurance carriers willingness to cover these studies.
When can we tell what sex the baby is?
You can almost always tell after it’s born! But you can get a good idea with an abdominal ultrasound performed after 16 weeks gestation. While this can sometimes be determined earlier, the accuracy of the prediction decreases with decreasing gestational age. A chorionic villus sampling (CVS) (where a tiny portion of placenta is sampled) performed at about 9 weeks or an amniocenteses performed after 12 weeks will of course determine the sex as part of the chromosomal analysis.

What is the alpha feto-protein test (AFP3)?

AFP3 is a blood test drawn from your arm after 15 weeks gestation designed to give you a risk ratio for Down’s Syndrome, Trisomy 18 and for spina bifida or open neural tube defect. The hormones tested are AFP, HCG and Estriol, all hormones produced by your pregnancy. There are known distributions of these hormones for each week of gestation, and if your gestational age, ethnic group, diabetes status and age are all fed into the computer, your results may be compared to hundreds of thousands of other women used to set the standards. Certain patterns of elevation and suppression of these hormones indicate greater or lesser risk for the conditions listed above.

Learn efficient, easy tips and advice on how to get pregnant fast, you can stand a greater probabilities of having a beautiful, healthy child.

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