Pregnancy must be one if not the best time of my life. It’s a memory I always replay and retell to my family and friends. When my son was born healthy, two arms and two feet – I felt a huge relief because like most moms, our happiness & excitement are clouded with significant anxieties. One of which is the question, is my baby going to be healthy?
Chromosome map of a male with Down’s syndrome (Trisomy 21)
The good news is moms today now have the choice to determine the health of their baby as early as 9 weeks. This includes prenatal screening to detect gender, chromosomal abnormalities (i.e. Trisomy 21 aka Down’s syndrome, Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13 and sex chromosome abnormalities), and other birth defects.
This is through Panorama noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) that only involves blood being drawn from the mother like any other blood test. The blood is then processed for the mother’s DNA to be differentiated from that of the baby whose DNA is also present in the mother’s blood. From hereon, the baby’s chromosomes are screened with results being available in 9-10 days.
I first had my prenatal screening/ congenital anomaly scan only at 25 weeks. This means I had more time to imagine and stress over things that could go wrong. You cannot blame mothers like me who like to be prepared for each & every scenario possible. Afterall, all of us want only the best for our children – whether they are still inside or outside of the womb.
During my 4D ultrasound, everyone was excited except me because my excitement was overshadowed by nervousness. It was only when the doctor said everything looks normal that I started to enjoy the process.
Maybe, if NIPT was available during that time I could have considered it given the budget. Imagine knowing your baby’s gender at only 9 weeks and having that peace of mind OR that opportunity to prepare for your baby’s healthcare in advance and make the right decisions (i.e. delaying immunization) once he is delivered.
Panorama is currently available at High Precision Diagnostics Clinics in the Philippines. This technology was only available in countries like Canada then. There are different packages available with the cheapest being around P11,000 for gender identification and P50,000+ for the full test which is suitable for mothers at higher risk of birth defects (34 and above).
If NIPT is not within your budget, the best thing that mothers can do is to take care of themselves by living a healthy lifestyle before, during, and after pregnancy. Plus, always follow your doctor’s orders
Oral Glucose Challenge Test (OGCT)