Test For Birth Defect Risk Gives Instant Results

Each year in the us, one in 300 newborns will have a genetic birth defect - defects caused by a mistake in the formation of the baby's chromosomes. But a new test can screen for these problems and put many new moms at ease.

Andie and John Pilutti are expecting their first child, but along with the excitement comes anxiety over the baby's health. Andie says, "It's that fear of the unknown. It's just...that's hard." Because she is over 35, Andie knows her baby is at higher risk for several birth defects. Normally she'd get an ultrasound and blood test at the doctor's office, and then wait a week for results. But now doctors can measure her risk just eleven to thirteen weeks into the pregnancy, with no waiting for results.

The new Instant Risk Assessment allows you to test your blood at home, just a few days before the ultrasound. Dr. Mark Landon of Ohio State Medical Center tells us, "We can give the actual number, or the risk, to that woman at the time of the ultrasound examination, and no longer wait for blood results since this is done in advance of the ultrasound visit."

Dr. Landon says this test mostly reassures a new mom her baby is off to a good start. If it turns out she is one of the few at high risk for birth defects, then further tests can be done. New moms can also rest assured, because the Instant Risk Assessment is more accurate than later tests. "First trimester screening may detect as high as 90% of chromosome abnormalities, whereas mid-trimester screening may only detect 75% or so."

Andie recently learned her test showed everything is fine, and now she can prepare for her new arrival with more peace of mind. Ohio State University Medical Center is one of a handful of hospitals offering Instant Risk Assessment.

By the way, a note to expectant moms - less than five-percent of women are at high risk for giving birth to babies with birth defects.

For more information on this story, contact The Ohio State University Medical Center at (800) 293-5123 or click here, and then on "Latest News."