Prenatal Screening

Prenatal screening helps identify potential birth defects during pregnancy. Before choosing which tests you will have, it is important to learn about the options available.

Types of Prenatal Screening Tests

Chromosomal Disorders

Learn about birth defects caused by chromosomal disorders and the tests used to identify them.

Genetic Syndromes

Learn about birth defects caused by genetic syndromes and the tests used to identify them.

Structural Defects

Learn about birth defects caused by structural defects and the tests used to identify them.

Understanding Prenatal Screening Tests

Making a Decision

Before you agree to have a test, you should think about what you will do with the information. Many couples would not have a CVS or amniocentesis under any circumstances. They would not end the pregnancy if the baby is affected, and/or they do not accept the risk of miscarriage from CVS or amnio. These couples might not want to have screening tests.

Questions to Consider

Think about these questions before deciding to have any form of genetic testing:

  • Is this information I want to know before delivery?
  • How do I feel about ending the pregnancy?
  • How do I feel about raising a child with a disorder?
  • What impact will this have on my family?
  • Who will care for an adult with special needs when I am no longer able?
  • How do I feel about miscarriage?
  • If I decide not to have testing, will I worry about this until the baby is born?

Remember that all of these tests are optional and entirely your choice. Discuss your options with your provider or a genetic counselor.

Support for Our Patients

At the Mass General OB/GYN Department, each patient is an important member of her own care team. To support you, we offer education resources such as childbirth classes, pregnancy-related information and access to women's health resources.