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Should I have prenatal screening if I am having a baby and I'm over the age of 35?

ANSWER

Screening tests are optional, low-risk tests that don't diagnose anything. Instead, they give you a sense of your baby's chance of having certain conditions. While helpful in many cases, these tests can produce some false positives. Whether you have these tests is up to you. Your doctor or midwife may suggest you speak with a genetic counselor before you make any decisions. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to bring them up before having any tests.

SOURCES:

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology: "FAQ: Later Childbearing," "FAQ: Genetic Disorders," "FAQ: Nutrition During Pregnancy," "Weight Gain During Pregnancy," "Screening for Birth Defects."

CDC: "Pregnancy and Prenatal Care."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "First Trimester Screening for Down Syndrome and Trisomies 13 & 18."

March of Dimes: "Pregnancy After 35," “Your Pregnant Body,” “Stress and Pregnancy.”

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: "What is a High Risk Pregnancy?" "Who Is at Risk for Preterm Labor and Birth?"

National Sleep Foundation: “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?”

Nybo Andersen, A. , 2000. BMJ

Office on Women’s Health: "Prenatal Care and Tests," "Pregnancy Complications."

UC Davis Health System: "Pregnancy After 35: Take Good Care of Yourself."

USDA National Agricultural Library.

Reviewed by Nivin Todd on May 11, 2016

SOURCES:

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology: "FAQ: Later Childbearing," "FAQ: Genetic Disorders," "FAQ: Nutrition During Pregnancy," "Weight Gain During Pregnancy," "Screening for Birth Defects."

CDC: "Pregnancy and Prenatal Care."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "First Trimester Screening for Down Syndrome and Trisomies 13 & 18."

March of Dimes: "Pregnancy After 35," “Your Pregnant Body,” “Stress and Pregnancy.”

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: "What is a High Risk Pregnancy?" "Who Is at Risk for Preterm Labor and Birth?"

National Sleep Foundation: “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?”

Nybo Andersen, A. , 2000. BMJ

Office on Women’s Health: "Prenatal Care and Tests," "Pregnancy Complications."

UC Davis Health System: "Pregnancy After 35: Take Good Care of Yourself."

USDA National Agricultural Library.

Reviewed by Nivin Todd on May 11, 2016

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What are the different screening tests that check for pregnancy risks?

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