Written by Kate Gardiner, Genetic Counsellor at LifeLabs
Prenatal testing is becoming an increasingly popular tool that more and more expectant parents are using to determine the health of their unborn baby. Kate Gardiner, a genetic counsellor at LifeLabs, debunks the myths of prenatal testing and provides valuable advice for soon-to-be parents on different options that are available.
Myth #1: Prenatal testing is dangerous
Many expectant mothers incorrectly assume that prenatal testing poses risks to a mother and her unborn baby. However, thanks to technological advances in medicine, some of the most accurate prenatal tests carry very little risk. For example, LifeLabs offers a test called Panorama, one of the most accurate tests available, which only requires a simple blood test to gather valuable information about the baby.
Myth#2: You have to be pregnant to be tested
Tests are now available for people who are thinking about starting a family that can detect if either parent is a carrier of a genetic disorder. The Counsyl Family Prep Screen test, now available at LifeLabs, can detect if a person carries a genetic health condition that can be passed unknowingly from parent to child. Counsyl enables parents to be informed and educated so they can make the right decisions for their growing family.
Myth #3: Prenatal testing is only for those who are considered high risk
While this was certainly the case for previous generations, more and more parents are using prenatal and genetic testing to learn more about their baby before birth – even if they are not considered to be high risk. Having a thorough understanding of the baby’s health prior to the birth helps parents put a plan in place so they can be prepared and feel assured during pregnancy.
Myth #4: Prenatal Testing can only be done during the second trimester
This is completely false! While this was true a decade ago when few options existed for parents-to-be, medical advances have enabled prenatal testing to be done earlier. In fact, reliable and accurate prenatal testing, such as the Panorama test, can be done as early as nine weeks gestation.
Myth #5: Prenatal testing is expensive
Prenatal testing is now covered by some provincial healthcare plans for women who are considered high risk. Speak to your doctor today to learn if prenatal testing is right for you, and if you qualify for coverage.