Tuesday, February 12, 2013

First Trimester Screening...

Today was my much anticipated first trimester screening.  I'm so relieved it was scheduled for only two weeks after my last appointment.  See, I have this issue-it's called fear of dead baby.  I'm good for a week after an appointment-then it's all downhill until my next appointment.  A week after my last appointment, I was walking in the halls at work, and I literally stopped, dead in my tracks.  What if the baby died?!?  From a week and beyond my friends....so last week was hard, thankfully it passed quickly.  But I have 3 weeks until my next OB appointment-but I feel like I've made it past the biggest hurdles-13 weeks Friday!  Now you don't have to remind me of what could be...
According to the American Pregnancy Association 

The First Trimester Screen is a new, optional noninvasive evaluation that combines a maternal blood screening test with an ultrasound evaluation of the fetus to identify risk for specific chromosomal abnormalities, including Down Syndrome Trisomy-21 and Trisomy-18.
In addition to screening for these abnormalities, a portion of the test (known as the nuchal translucency) can assist in identifying other significant fetal abnormalities, such as cardiac disorders. The screening test does not detect neural tube defects.
The first trimester screen has been available in the U.S. for several years, but has only recently been determined an effective means of early chromosomal abnormality screening.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in November 2005 determined that first trimester screening was the most accurate non-invasive screening method available. The combined accuracy rate for the screen to detect the chromosomal abnormalities mentioned above is approximately 85% with a false positive rate of 5%. This means that:
  • Approximately 85 out of every 100 babies affected by the abnormalities addressed by the screen will be identified.
  • Approximately 5% of all normal pregnancies will receive a positive result or an abnormal level.
  • A positive test means that you have a 1/100 to 1/300 chance of experiencing one of the abnormalities.
It is important to realize that a positive result does not equate to having an abnormality, but rather serves as a prompt to discuss further testing.
The screen should not be confused with screens performed during the second trimester (often known as the Quad Screen or Triple Screen ). These screening methods are less accurate and are performed between 15-20 weeks.
The blood screen measures two pregnancy related hormones: hCG and PAPP-A.
The ultrasound evaluation measures nuchal translucency (fluid beneath the skin behind baby’s neck).
This non-invasive procedure combines the results from the blood tests and the ultrasound, along with the mother’s age, to determine risk factors.

So there ya go, now you know what a first trimester screening/NT test.  Everything checked out nicely, the NT measurement was 1.3 (they're looking for anything under 3)!  What was really great was that because I got my blood taken at my first OB appointment, they were able to combine my NT measurement with my blood results-on the spot!  *Although I wasn't given a specific number, I was told my results are favorable for a baby with neither of these chromosomal abnormalities. 
*I do not want to get into the nitty gritties about all babies being blessings, everything happening for a reason, anti-abortion, pro-choice, yada yada yada. I want a healthy baby, with all typical chromosomes and typical formation!  The statements are not meant to reflect my opinions or judgements on any type of issue surrounding the bigger issue.  Just sayin'

And now for my normal announcement:  the ultrasound picture will be coming later, once the husband scans it in for me :)


Happy Wednesday All!     


  1. Oh my gosh, so I wasnt as crazy as I thought. Or at least I wasnt the only one. My ENTIRE first trimester I was a complete total wreck. Every single day I woke up knowing that it would be the day that I would start bleeding and a dead baby would fall out of me. We spent a lot of money on going to 3-d ultrasound clinics just for a 10 minute heartbeat check. Each appointment, and even at each doctor appointment in between the heart beat checks, I was so ready for the person scanning to tell me she was sorry that she couldnt find anything. My first and 2nd miscarriages obviously traumatized me more than I had thought. Glad to read this and know that I am not the only one to feel like this.

    1. Oh you are definitely not alone! But you have good reason to be freaking out-thank G-d I have never had a miscarriage! I always say I'm going to talk to my OB about my anxiety and work out a plan with him, but then I gain reassurance at the appointments and chicken out about saying anything. I'm just hoping that once I feel the baby move on a regular basis I'll feel better...I know I won't, but here's to wishful thinking....


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