Garrison Women’s Health offers a variety of screenings at various stages of woman’s pregnancy, including genetic testing, fetal ultrasounds, and gestational diabetes screens.
A birth defect is a problem that is present at birth, although it may not be noticed until the child is older. It may affect any part of the body, including major organs such as the heart, lungs, or brain. It may affect the baby’s appearance, a body function, or both. Birth defects can be caused by problems with chromosomes, a gene that is passed from parent to child, or exposure to harmful agents. Garrison offers carrier, screening, and diagnostic tests to provide information on various possible defects. Although these tests are offered to all women, it is your choice to have them done.
More information on genetic testing:
Screening Fetal Ultrasound
Garrison offers women with normal pregnancies fetal ultrasound surveys to assess your baby’s anatomy. This ultrasound will usually be done during the middle part of your pregnancy, between 20 and 25 weeks. The ultrasound takes a close look at the structures of the baby, including the brain, heart, stomach, kidneys, arms and legs. This test is a survey of the baby and should not be confused with the genetic ultrasounds done by Maternal Fetal Medicine.
Ultrasound is a very helpful technology. It has been used during pregnancy for over 20 years and is considered safe. But like all medical tests, it is not perfect. Ultrasound can detect some, but not all, fetal problems. Usually a screening ultrasound like this gives reassurance and confirms gestational age.
Some experts in obstetrics believe that performing ultrasounds on women with normal pregnancies is unnecessary. They argue that screening ultrasounds can lead to false positive or false negative results. A false positive result occurs when an ultrasound indicates a problem when none actually exists. This could cause unnecessary anxiety, stress, and additional testing. A false negative result occurs when an ultrasound fails to detect an abnormality and leads to false reassurance.
Because there is some controversy about the medical necessity of ultrasounds for this purpose, some insurance companies will not pay for this test. If you are uncertain about your own policy it is best to call your insurance company. As with all medical testing, you are not required to have this test.
For most people, having a fetal ultrasound is a positive experience. This “window into the womb” enables people to see their baby prior to birth. With this scan, some families want to learn the sex of their baby. Our sonographers will do their best to determine this, but ultrasound determination of sex is not definite and is not always possible. We do not offer medical ultrasound for the sole purpose of sex determination.
If you have questions about screening ultrasounds, please ask your provider. We will be happy to address your concerns.
Gestational Diabetes Screen
Included in your lab tests done at 28 weeks is a test for gestational diabetes. This test involves a sugary drink followed by a blood draw one hour after the drink is consumed. Please plan on being at the office for one hour that day. During the hour you will also have your routine obstetrical visit.
Along with glucose testing we will check your iron levels to ensure they are stable.
Tdap Vaccine: In 2012, the United States had the most reported cases of pertussis (“whooping cough”) since 1959, with more than 32,000 cases reported along with 16 deaths, the majority of which were in infants.
These recent increased incidences of pertussis in the United States has caused the Center for Disease Control(CDC) to approve Tdap for pregnant women to lower their risk of transmission to their infant and to provide newborns immunity at birth. Newborns and infants <12 months are at highest risk for severe disease and death from pertussis.
In March, 2013, the CDC recommended that all pregnant women receive the Tdap booster vaccination during the third trimester of pregnancy regardless of when their last vaccine was given.
By getting Tdap during late pregnancy, your maternal pertussis antibodies transfer across your placenta to your newborn, providing protection against pertussis in early neonatal life, before your baby starts getting DTap vaccines. Tdap will also protect you at time of delivery, making you less likely to transmit pertussis to your infant if you have been exposed.
The CDC also recommends all persons in close contact with your infant have an up to date Tdap vaccination. This includes the baby’s father, grandparents, siblings, and childcare providers.
Group B Streptococcus Test
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a type of bacteria that can be found in the vagina and intestinal tract of 15-40% of pregnant women. GBS is one of many bacteria that live in our digestive, urinary, and reproductive tract. It usually causes no serious illness. GBS is different from group A strep that causes “strep throat.” Being colonized (having the bacteria without any symptoms) does not pose any danger to a woman’s health.
A woman with GBS can pass it on to her baby during the birthing process. Most babies who are exposed to these bacteria do not have any problems. A few babies, though, can become sick and it can even threaten their lives.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that all pregnant women should have their vagina and rectum cultured for GBS during the latter part of their pregnancy. If the culture is positive for GBS, antibiotics during labor can lower the risk of exposing one’s baby to these bacteria.
Garrison practitioners will be doing this culture for you at your 36-week visit. We will note the results in your chart and we will share these results with you at the next visit.
If your culture is positive, please tell your nurse when you are admitted in labor. Once active labor is established, intravenous (IV) antibiotics will be started. Penicillin is the drug of choice to use for these bacteria. If you are penicillin allergic, please be sure to inform us and we will mark it in your chart if it is not already. Other antibiotics can be substituted for penicillin.
GBS is fairly common in pregnant women. Yet very few babies actually become sick from GBS infection. Treatment during labor may help prevent infection in your baby. It is important to remember that no treatment offers perfect protection against GBS. Some infections, even fetal ones, may still occur despite treatment.
About Your Laboratory Work and “Pap Screen”
Your provider will carefully review the results of any tests that were performed. Results will readily be available to discuss with your provider at your second prenatal visit. If upon review by your provider any results require further evaluation you will be contacted by our office.
Any laboratory testing that is performed will incur a Lab Handling Fee. We currently use Quest Diagnostics for most of our laboratory testing and you and/or your insurance will be billed by Quest Diagnostics for the processing of your bloodwork. There are additional tests that may be performed during the course of your pregnancy through laboratories other than Quest Diagnostics. There are charges that may be incurred through these laboratories, therefore we are providing you with a list of the labs we work with, and the testing they provide.
- ARUP LABORATORIES: Genetic Labs; Sequential Screening and Quad Screen
- Aurora Diagnostics/Seacoast Pathology: Pap Screen
**If you have a pap screen that is abnormal and requires additional pathology review, you or your insurance will incur charges through Spectrum Pathology.
If you have any questions regarding any charges you receive, please do not hesitate to contact our billing department.