Q: Which prenatal tests are optional and how should I know if I should have them done?
A: There are many optional tests available today to screen for genetic disorders and birth defects. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends certain optional tests be offered to every pregnant woman, including cystic fibrosis carrier testing, first trimester screening, and maternal serum screening. Other optional diagnostic tests include chorionic villus sampling
(CVS), amniocentesis, and cell-free fetal DNA. Women should understand that screening tests give them a risk assessment and not
confirmatory answers. The good news is that screening tests are typically less invasive than diagnostic tests. In order to decide if you should have any of these optional tests, you will want to talk with your provider about your risk factors such as age, ethnicity, pregnancy history, genetic disorders, and medication history. Identifying your risk for genetic disorders or birth defects will allow your medical team optimal time to prepare and coordinate the best possible care for you and your baby.