Thanks to the discovery of prenatal ultrasound, we have the fantastic opportunity to examine the health of an unborn child. An ultrasound often brings joy to expectant parents. It serves as a means to reach out to their baby, and learn about his/her growth and development at the same time. Unfortunately, although rarely, parents may be faced with the discoveries of abnormalities, which would require further tests and medical advice. Mandatory prenatal screenings are covered by health insurance. They include the nuchal translucency ultrasound in the first trimester and the detailed anatomy scan (level 2 ultrasound) in the second trimester, which examines the organs of your baby. At our practice, we recommend expectant mothers obtain an additional ultrasound, around 6-8 weeks before the baby’s due date. This is to ensure that the baby is growing as anticipated, as well as to monitor the level of amniotic fluid.
Nuchal Translucency Ultrasound / First Trimester Test
This medical examination is covered by your health insurance. It measures the so-called neck fold of the baby through ultrasound, around week 12 of your pregnancy. Should the expectant parents wish, in addition to the ultrasound, a blood test and specific hormone scan can be conducted in order to determine the statistical risk for the presence of Trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome. If the results indicate a probability of 1 in 350 or higher, further examinations shall be discussed.
Genetic Prenatal Screenings (Non-Invasive Prenatal Diagnostics, Panorama and Harmony Prenatal Tests)
Since the beginning of 2013, it has been possible to conduct an examination of fetal DNA by taking a blood sample from the expectant mother. The blood is examined for the presence of specific disorders (mainly Trisomy 13, 18 and 21). This particular blood test can be carried out from week 10 of your pregnancy. Test results are available after 2-3 weeks. The test costs CHF 510 to CHF 750 and is not covered by health insurance.
Invasive Prenatal Screening
Invasive prenatal screening refers to chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis tests. Using a very fine needle, a small sample of cells is taken from the placenta. The cells are then tested for a spectrum of abnormalities and birth defects. For high-risk patients and women over 35 years old, this procedure is covered by health insurance. The procedure poses little pain for the expectant mother. However, it does carry a small risk of miscarriage and therefore needs to be carefully considered.