Are you pregnant? Latest advances in antenatal assessments

This blog is written by our clinicians and aims to keep patients informed with up to date information on medical conditions. The editor of the blog is Dr Cristina Romete.

Most people would agree that we tend to cope with challenges better if there has been some preparation. Pregnancy screening has been advancing over the past decade in terms of categorising risks of chromosomal abnormalities. This offers women who have pregnancies considered to be high risk to avail of appropriate further screening and for women with low risk pregnancies to avoid unnecessary invasive testing.
Up until recently doctors have been using the results of the Nuchal Translucency Scan, reviewing the nose bone of the baby and an additional blood test to identify two pregnancy hormones. This has achieved a positive predictive value of about 84%. Women with high risk are offered to proceed to chorion villous sampling or amniocentesis. These are invasive tests that carry a miscarriage risk or about 1:100.
This is changing now with the Non-Invasive Prenatal Test known as Harmony.

What is Harmony?

This is a combined test that can be performed from 11 weeks of pregnancy. It is a simple blood test from the mother that can be analysed for cell free fetal DNA. The results have a detection rate of more than 99% which will hugely reduce the need for invasive testing as before. This is great news for couples because it eliminates the risk of miscarriage of pregnancy. An ultrasound scan is performed just before the blood test.
Who needs Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing?
Anyone who is anxious about her baby having a chromosomal abnormality such as Downs Syndrome, Edwards, Patau’s or a sex chromosome abnormality such as Turner and Klinefelter Syndromes.

HARMONY TEST <1:1600 >99:100 Down’s Syndrome
Edward’s Syndrome
Patau Syndrome
Turner Syndrome
Klinefelter Syndrome
Fetal Sex
NUCHAL TEST 1:20 79:100 Down’s Syndrome
Edwards Syndrome
Patau Syndrome

How long to receive results from a Harmony Test?
The result is expressed as high risk or low risk as this is a screening test not a diagnostic test. A low risk result gives a risk of a chromosomal problem of less than 1:10000. A high-risk result gives a risk of greater than 99%. A high-risk result foes not confirm the baby has the chromosomal abnormality. Should an amniocentesis or chorionic villous sampling be offered, full counselling is given.
The results are known within 5 working days. The sex of the baby can also be revealed with the Harmony test, if parents wish to.

Antenatal blood test for early detection of pre-eclampsia……coming soon at ROC!

1 in 10 pregnancies in the UK are complicated by pre-eclampsia.
Around 5 in 1000 pregnancies are complicated by severe pre-eclampsia.
15%-20% of all preterm births are attributable to pre-eclampsia.
A woman who has had pre-eclampsia has a 16% risk of having it again in a future pregnancy.
These statistics are worrying for pregnant women which is why a brand new advanced screening test known as PIGF, can now be done as early as 11 weeks to identify the high-risk cases to be able to start preventative actions in time for it to be of maximum benefit.
Further testing can be done in the second trimester of pregnancy to reassess the risk or assess those not screened in the first trimester.
In the third trimester, the test will help identify those pregnancies that will develop pre-eclampsia and thus administer treatment in a timely manner.

ROC Private Clinic are one of the first to bring this test to the market.

What is PIGF screening?
A simple blood test combined with a short ultrasound scan will indicate a patient’s risk for pre-eclampsia and allow health care professionals to intervene, reassess or discount in the follow up care plan.
What to expect from results?
Results will be available from the laboratory within 5-7 days. They will be reported as low risk or high risk giving your midwife/GP/obstetrician the option to further investigate in view to treatment or proceed with routine antenatal care.

Screening test for Group B Strep (GBS)

Group B Strep is the UK’s most common cause of life-threatening infections in new born babies. Most GBS infections can be prevented by giving antibiotics through a vein at the start of labour to all women who carry it.
Screening for GBS is not routinely offered in the NHS. However, ROC Private Clinic are now offering this to all pregnant women regardless if it is their first pregnancy or not.

What is the test?
Two swabs are taken and sent to the laboratory to be cultured ideally in the last 5 weeks of pregnancy.

What are the results?
Results can be expected within 5-7 days and are reported in a positive or negative format.

ROC Private Clinic is committed to bringing the latest advances in medicine to its patients. We shall keep you informed of any future developments.

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