There are several taboo topics surrounding pregnancy. To breastfeed or not to breastfeed? Home birth or hospital birth? Which supplements are the right supplements? You name it, and you can probably find a mother-to-be who has an opinion about it. Perhaps one of the hottest issues that also raises eyebrows is prenatal DNA testing.
For many, prenatal DNA testing has a negative connotation. They assume that testing is for parents who are not serious about their pregnancy or are not being responsible. However, the opposite is true. DNA testing actually arms parents with knowledge that they wouldn’t be able to obtain otherwise, which ultimately increases their likelihood of being responsible and effective parents.
What is Prenatal DNA Testing?
Prenatal DNA tests seek out chromosomes that are linked to genetic abnormalities. The most common type of these abnormalities is a trisomy, and is caused when chromosomes doesn’t replicate properly. Common trisomies include trisomy 21, trisomy 18, and trisomy 13. Trisomy 18 causes Edwards syndrome and trisomy 13 causes Patau syndrome, while trisomy 21, the most common trisomy, causes Down syndrome.
A prenatal DNA test is able to locate these genetic abnormalities to give parents a better understanding of their child’s health. With the knowledge provided through testing, parents are better able to plan for the future, and to find the adequate resources and support they need to remain effective and safe parents. A few truths often not associated with prenatal DNA testing include:
It’s Not Always Invasive
While some prenatal DNA tests are invasive, those provided by labs like Sequenom Laboratories and others, are not. Because these types of prenatal DNA tests are not invasive, they won’t leave your pregnancy susceptible to infections. DNA screenings often require the amniotic sac to be puncture by a needle in order to receive a fluid sample. This procedure has a higher risk because of the exposure to the outside environment.
Prenatal DNA tests provided by labs like Sequenom Laboratories only require a small sample of your blood. This sample can be given at your doctor’s office and then submitted to a trusted lab for review. Your pregnancy is not exposed to outside risk factors because of the test.
There’s a Quick Turn Around Time
Waiting for the results of a prenatal DNA test will not require you to pace the room or constantly check your phone. The turn around time is relatively quick, and most individuals receive their results 5 days after the lab receives their sample. The short amount of time can quickly grant you peace of mind, and help you prevent additional anxiety surrounding your pregnancy.
They aren’t Just for At-Risk Pregnancies
Many people assume that they do not need to have a prenatal DNA test if they do not have a family history of genetic abnormalities or if they are not 35 years or older and pregnant. While not all pregnancies are similar in risk level, they all should have the same type of monitoring and care.
Prenatal DNA testing doesn’t just let parents know about the health of their child, it can also reduce anxiety. Parents are often very concerned about the health of their pregnancy and that concern can escalate into stress. Stress can result in negative effects on your developing child. To prevent heightened anxiety about the health of your pregnancy, consider having a prenatal DNA test. It may just offer you the peace of mind you need to keep from stressing out and maintaining a healthy level of concern.
Prenatal DNA testing should not remain a topic of debate, but rather seen as a tool that can help families obtain the information they need to provide better family planning. A family without knowledge is often one that is left stressed and struggling, which leads to poor parenting. By empowering families with information, they have the best opportunity to create the supportive and loving family they’ve always wanted.