- Socioeconomic and demographic factors (inadequate diet and nutrition)
- Environmental factors
- Infections (i.e., syphilis, rubella, Zika virus)
- Drugs and Alcohol
- Maternal risk factors and conditions (i.e., age, obesity, pre-gestational diabetes)
Some women opt to have a preconception examination to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Through this, the doctor will evaluate your overall health and identify any risk factors that may affect the pregnancy.
What is a Congenital Anomaly Screening?
Congenital anomaly screening refers to a detailed ultrasound scan (mid-pregnancy or anomaly scan) that examines the baby’s physical development. It takes a closer look into the formation of the baby’s different body parts and organs. Some of which include:
- Spinal cord
However, it cannot detect every condition there is.
Some people commonly refer to this as the 20-week screening scan as it usually takes place between the 18th and 21st week of pregnancy.
Similar to the 12-week screening scan, it generates a 2D black-and-white image of the baby from the scan.
Diagnosis of Birth Defects During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, your doctor may suggest some screening tests to check for birth defects or other issues that may affect the woman or her baby. Your doctor may run several tests to screen and evaluate the likelihood of any birth defect.
Combined First Trimester Screening (CFTS)
This is a maternal serum screening test that typically takes place before 12 weeks of pregnancy. It uses ultrasound and serum markers to predict the likelihood of certain chromosomal anomalies:
- Patau syndrome (Trisomy 13)
- Edwards syndrome (Trisomy 18)
- Down syndrome (Trisomy 21)
Non-invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)
This type of congenital anomaly screening takes out a blood sample from the mother to assess the probability of such abnormalities. In addition that, it can also detect some sex chromosome abnormalities.