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Integrated test during pregnancy (birth defects testing)

Integrated test during pregnancy (birth defects testing)

The integrated test is a screening test done during pregnancy to find out the chance that a baby has certain birth defects, such as Down syndrome. The test is done in two stages at two different times during the pregnancy. You will get the results after the tests in the second trimester are done.

  • The first stage can be done around 10 to 13 weeks of pregnancy. The tests done for this stage are:
    • An ultrasound. The ultrasound can show the age of the baby and measure the thickness of the skin at the back of the baby's neck (nuchal translucency, or NT).
    • A blood test to measure the level of a substance in the blood called pregnancy-associated plasma protein A (PAPP-A).
  • The second stage can usually be done between weeks 15 and 22. The tests done for this stage are all blood tests and include:
    • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP).
    • Beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
    • Unconjugated estriol (a form of estrogen).
    • Inhibin A.

The results of all these tests are reviewed to see if levels are higher or lower than expected, and the results are reported after the second stage.

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