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Screening and Testing 

First-trimester screening is a test performed between weeks 11 and 14 of pregnancy. It is currently the most reliable screening test for Down syndrome—the most common chromosomal abnormality among babies born today. It also screens for other chromosome abnormalities and birth defects.

The first-trimester screening combines an ultrasound measurement of the skin thickness on the back of the baby’s neck (nuchal transulcency or NT) with a finger-stick blood test performed on the mother. These results are then analyzed and assigned a risk estimate.

What are the benefits of having a first-trimester screening completed?

Because first trimester screening can be done earlier than most other prenatal screening tests, you'll have the results early in your pregnancy. This will give you more time to make decisions about further diagnostic tests, medical treatment and the course of the pregnancy. If your baby is diagnosed with a genetic condition, you'll also have more time to prepare for the possibility of caring for a child who has special needs.

Abnormal First-Trimester Screening Results

Receiving news of a “positive test” can be very alarming, especially when the person relaying the result does not have a thorough understanding of what the results actually mean. PCI offers patients the only certified genetics counselor in central Iowa to assist in this assessment and help you fully understand your results and options for further testing. PCI offers both chorionic villus sampling (CVS)and genetic amniocentesis to patients who opt for these tests. 


First-trimester screening without a physician referral

Some women are not able to see their obstetric provider until late in their first trimester, PCI offers first-trimester screening without a physician’s referral.

If you are interested in this screening, you may call our office at (515) 643-6888 or toll-free at (877) 415-7447 to schedule an appointment for this screening.

(515) 247-3121
1111 6th Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50314

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