In addition to the routine screenings that will be scheduled throughout your pregnancy, additional screenings may be recommended. The purpose of screenings is to determine the level of risk for genetic disorders. Initial screenings only assess risk. If high, further screenings will be conducted.
Blood testing can determine if a mother is a carrier for potentially serious conditions such as fragile X, spinal muscular atrophy, sickle cell, Tay-Sachs, or cystic fibrosis. If a mother is positive, lab work is also performed on the father. Testing is important because a carrier is one who does not show signs of the disease, but who can pass it to others. If testing is positive, further screening will be performed to assess if the baby is also positive.
Blood testing is performed initially in this group of screenings. Lab work is performed at 10-14 weeks, and will indicate risk for trisomy 13, trisomy 18, and Down syndrome. The second test, nuchal translucency, involves ultrasound measurements to further assess risk.
This fetal DNA screening also assesses for Down syndrome, trisomy 13, and trisomy 18. It involves a blood test after week 10.
The maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein test evaluates a blood sample to assess the risk for spinal cord and skull birth defects. The optional screen can be scheduled between weeks 15 and 20.
Chorionic villus sampling, performed between 10-12 weeks, may be recommended for certain high risk pregnancies to assess for genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome. A perinatologist performs the procedure, which collects sample tissue from the baby for genetic testing. This sample is obtained through a small catheter which is guided by ultrasound.
Performed after week 16 by a perinatologist, this procedure collects a small fluid sample from the baby’s sac in order to identify the presence of abnormal genes, which may indicate Down syndrome. The fluid sample is obtained through a small needle inserted through the abdomen, which is guided by ultrasound.
Each of these procedures can provide valuable diagnostic data. There is a small risk of miscarriage associated with both.
When a low-weight mother fails to gain adequate weight during pregnancy, there is a chance that her baby will also be underweight. Preterm birth is also a concern. Obesity, on the other hand, may lead to abnormally high birth weight, as well as a post-term birth and other complications. Studies also indicate that too much weight gain and a high birth weight may increase the risk of childhood obesity.
A daily dose of quality prenatal vitamins provides a mother and growing fetus with the nutrients they require. Vitamins may be obtained with or without a prescription. To help you tolerate prenatal vitamins well, take them with a small snack. If nausea continues to be a problem, you may try chewable prenatal vitamins. Constipation resulting from prenatal vitamins may be remedied by drinking plenty of fluids, maintaining an active lifestyle, and eating a fiber-rich diet. If necessary, you may use a stool softener.
We are here to answer your questions. Call 855-346-8610.
We offer general care, gynecology, and obstetrics services that span all stages of a woman's life. Dr. Taryll L. Jenkins, MD received his undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University and Doctorate of Medicine from Meharry Medical College School of Medicine, TN. He completed his residency training at the University of Texas and Hermann Hospital, TX and is Board-certified from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, with years of research experience.
Having graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Chemistry in 2011, Dr. Stephanie Roy received her Doctor of Medicine Degree in 2015 from the University of Texas Medical Branch. Today she is a leading Board-certified physician who works hard to provide you and your family with high quality services. In addition to spending time at the practice, Dr. Roy possesses extensive volunteer experience in the community. She was also a tutor at the Medical Careers Diversity Program in 2012 and since then has spent her free time volunteering for the St. Vincent’s Clinic.
Dr. Tiffany Ikwuagwu is passionate about caring for the diverse communities in Katy and Houston, TX. Having completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Houston, her medical degree at the Baylor College of Medicine, and her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the McGovern Medical School, she worked as principal investigator on a research project with Dr. Nana Ankumah at UT Houston. A member of the American Medical Association, Texas Medical Association, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dr. Ikwuagwu has served in several leadership roles and has made many contributions to the community.
Yara Ramirez, MD earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Baylor University and her doctorate in medicine from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston where she also completed her residency. She won the Resident Teaching Award from UTMB’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for two consecutive years.
Dr. Ramirez has researched extensively on many obstetrics-related topics. She has been a Junior Fellow Representative for the UTMB Residency Program and a Medical Student Education Committee Member at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has volunteered for various local and foreign community programs. Her fluency in Spanish and French is an asset to her organization.
Nadia Alexander is a Board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with a Master’s of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center. With seven years of experience in women’s health and a focus on obstetrics and ambulatory gynecology (vaginitis, UTI, and vaginal bleeding), she provides quality, compassionate care to patients in various stages of reproductive life. She is fluent in English and Spanish and is the lead contact for our Telehealth service.