By Dr. Surekha Jain, Gynaecology
Prenatal diagnosis includes a number of techniques that can capture the condition and health of an unborn fetus. Without a prenatal diagnosis, there could be the uncalled situation for the yet-to-be-born. This diagnosis can actively help in managing the remaining weeks for pregnancy, determining the outcome, finding out inner lying condition that could lead to serious and fatal complications at the later stages of pregnancies.
Prenatal diagnosis can also help in determining whether the pregnancy should at all be continued, finding out if the baby is going to land with any serious health threats etc. There are many techniques available to do the prenatal diagnosis. The age of pregnancy decides which ones to opt for. Some of the common techniques include ultrasonography, chorionic villus sampling, maternal serum beta-HCG, amniocentesis, fetal blood cells in maternal blood, maternal serum beta-HCG etc.
There are various methods of pathological analysis to decide the placental issues.
- The gross examination is the most important procedure and helps to detect any chromosomal abnormality.
- The microscopical examination is another method of pathological examination. It helps to decide the gestational age, abnormal organogenesis, neoplasia etc.
- Radiography is the other method. It helps to zero in on growth retardation, changes in the soft tissue, skeletal anomalies, osteogenesis, audit of the fetal parts etc.
- There are also microbiological culture, biochemical analysis, electron microscopy, DNA probes, karyotyping, FISH, flow cytometry, electron microscopy etc. Each method has its own merits and can reveal the various level of details about the fetus in each stage of pregnancy.
What are the different conditions that can be detected with the prenatal diagnosis?
Feta-placental abnormalities could be many. However, some of the most common ones being a chromosomal abnormality, neural tube defects, hydrops details, congenital infections. These abnormalities are determined on the basis of tests such as a histologic exam, TORCH filter and tissue culture, disruptions such as amniotic band syndrome, hydranencephaly, and sirenomelia, renal cystic diseases, congenital neoplasms etc.
Advantages of Prenatal Diagnosis
Prenatal diagnosis has a lot of benefits.
- By consulting doctors and genetic counselors, a pregnant woman can take an informed decision. Depending on the condition of the baby, a person can choose to give birth at the right facility with the right kind of support. For instance, one can choose a hospital that is an expert in high-risk births rather than a normal childbirth hospital.
- Prenatal diagnosis can also help a person line up the right kind of pediatrician required for the delivery of the baby. Apart from this, prenatal diagnosis helps a would-be-mom to get the right kind of counseling and community support groups. These groups can come real handy provided the kind of experience they have. Often they can guide a person towards the right direction as far as medical help is concerned.