During the 2nd trimester, markers in the pregnant woman’s blood are measured and sometimes ultrasonography is done to evaluate the risk that the fetus will have certain abnormalities.
First Trimester Ultrasound
Ultrasonography can help estimate the risk of Down syndrome and certain other chromosomal abnormalities. It can show whether the space at the back of the fetus's neck is enlarged. If it is, risk of these abnormalities is increased.
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Triple and Quad Screening
Triple or quad screening is done around 15 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. It can help estimate the risk of Down syndrome in the fetus. Quad screening results are abnormal (positive) in almost 80% of Down syndrome cases. Triple screening detects almost as many cases. If the risk of Down syndrome is high, amniocentesis is considered.
Combined 1st and 2nd Trimester Screening
Couples should remember that screening tests are not always accurate. They may miss abnormalities, or they may indicate abnormalities when none are present.