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Can Down syndrome be screened for during pregnancy?

During the early stages of pregnancy, it is possible to screen for the presence of Down syndrome. This involves testing the mother's blood for abnormal levels of protein markers (PAPP-A and HCG), the amount of cell-free DNA that is contributed by your growing fetus and also an ultrasound. As these tests occur during the early stages of pregnancy, they cannot always detect if a baby is going to be born with Down syndrome. If early screening indicates the presence of a baby with Down syndrome, more invasive tests can be performed to diagnose this condition.

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Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 07 Oct 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Votes: 747 (Click smiley face below to rate)
Category: Fetal alcohol syndrome


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