Risks Of DNA Test During Pregnancy

Submitted by Medical Health Test Team on October 17, 2012

A DNA test during pregnancy usually is carried out to determine the paternity of the child. Other reasons for a DNA test during pregnancy include testing for genetic diseases or abnormalities, and also to determine whether the child is a girl or a boy. The genetic material that is located in the cell nucleus and the mitochondria is called deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. DNA provides important genetic information and about a person. DNA testing during pregnancy is called as prenatal DNA testing. This DNA test result is as conclusive as a standard paternity test as a baby’s DNA is set right from conception itself. While the result itself will not change the change is in the way the test is performed. A standard paternity test (DNA test) is usually carried out using samples from oral swabs while a prenatal DNA test is carried out on samples taken from the pregnant mother. There are two main types of DNA tests that are carried out in prenatal DNA testing: chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis.

Amniocentesis: It is usually performed between the 12th and 21st week of pregnancy. It is a process where a sample of the amniotic fluid is taken from the expectant mother. An ultrasound is used while carrying out this test. The ultrasound is made use of to make a thin needle go safely into the mother’s uterus through the abdomen. This needle is used to draw out some amniotic fluid (fluid surrounding the womb) and this fluid is then tested. This kind of DNA testing during pregnancy carries certain risks like cramping, miscarriage, vaginal bleeding and also leaking of the amniotic fluid.

Chorionic Villus Sampling also abbreviated as CVS:  This is the other method of DNA testing at the time of pregnancy. This type of DNA test could be carried out between 10-13 weeks once the pregnancy has occurred. It is a process of obtaining cells from the surface of the placenta. An ultrasound is also used in this test to guide the tube thin or a needle right from the vagina and passing through the patient’s cervix to remove a sample of chronic villi. Chronic villi are small portions of tissue which are in the shape of fingers. This is normally seen on the walls of the uterus. Risks associated with this kind of DNA test include miscarriage and possible chances of defects in the child’s fingers or toes.

Keep in mind that a doctor’s approval is required for both of the above tests. If you are more than 24 weeks pregnant and undergo tests, the risk of damaging your baby is even higher. It is important to weight the pros and cons before having DNA tests during pregnancy.

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