Genetic counseling specialists can help provide you with information you need to make informed decisions about what’s best for you and your family. UCHealth is home to some of the most respected prenatal genetic specialists and counselors in the country.

Prenatal genetics tests & services

Genetic testing can help identify genetic issues you may want to know about before you conceive or before you deliver your baby. The results of various tests can help you prepare in advance. Treatment for certain conditions can begin even before your baby is born.

First & second trimester sequential screening

This screening combines an ultrasound performed between 10.5 and 14 weeks of pregnancy with a first or a first and second trimester blood test.

The screening determines risk to the fetus for:

  • Down syndrome
  • Extra chromosomal material (Trisomy 18)
  • Open neural tube defects (failure of the bones and tissue over the spine to close)

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology now recommends first trimester screening for all pregnant women.

Genetic sonogram
The genetic sonogram is an ultrasound exam that looks for physical signs that may indicate chromosome abnormalities in the fetus. The sonogram also helps determine organ development in the fetus.

Fetal echocardiography
Fetal echocardiography is an ultrasound exam that looks for abnormalities in the heart of the fetus. It is recommended for patients with:

  • A family history of congenital heart disease
  • Exposure to certain medications
  • Specific maternal conditions such as diabetes or lupus

It is also recommended in fetuses with:

  • Known chromosomal abnormalities
  • Other non-heart abnormalities
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

In CVS testing, a small amount of tissue from the placenta is removed to analyze the chromosomes of the fetus. CVS is performed between 10.5 and 12.5 weeks of pregnancy.

Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is a procedure in which a small amount of amniotic fluid (the fluid surrounding the fetus) is removed and analyzed to test the chromosomes of the fetus. For example, it is used to assess the risk for a neural tube defect. Amniocentesis is most commonly performed between 16 and 18 weeks of pregnancy.

Learn more about prenatal genetic counseling at our online Health Library.