Importance of carrier screening tests for pregnant women

Updated: May 10, 2020 1:38 PM

Every parent wants the best for their baby and therefore, it is imperative to take the right steps to ensure a safe an healthy delivery.

pregnant women, carrier screening tests, tips for pregnant women,pregnant women news, healthy child delivery, latest news on pregnancyCarrier screening is a specific genetic test procedure that can help identify whether a person is carrying a gene for any specific genetic disorder or not. (IE photo)

By Ashish Kumar Dubey,

Being pregnant is special for any woman – but this period can also be overwhelming. While on one hand, there is the excitement of welcoming a new life into the world – one you ca call your own – there are also concerns about the child’s well-being. Every parent wants the best for their baby and therefore, it is imperative to take the right steps to ensure a safe an healthy delivery. There are a number of things that must be taken care of during pregnancy and it is best to have a health and wellness checklist to follow.

A typical pregnancy checklist should include the following steps.

  •  Pre-pregnancy check-up
    Pre-natal visits
  • Healthy lifestyle choices
  •  Focusing on nutrition and relaxation
  •  Informing the doctor about medications or existing health problems
  •  Following the vaccination schedule
  •  Living an active lifestyle
  •  Avoiding stress
  •  Monitoring blood sugar and diabetes levels
  •  Avoiding infections
  •  Knowing your family’s health history
  •  Undertaking carrier screening tests if needed

When we talk about family health history, there is a need to double-check on whether an family member is suffering from chronic or genetic diseases. Family genetics can determined the health and wellness of you as well as your would-be child. Thanks to advancement o medical technology, there are various carrier screening tests available today that ca identify the likelihood of diseases or physical disorders in an unborn baby.

Who is a carrier?

There are some genetic disorders which require two genes for a person to suffer the disorder. On the other hand, a carrier is a person who has only one gene of a disorder Therefore, carriers are usually asymptomatic or have only light symptoms. Unless tested they are usually not even aware that they are carrying the gene for a disorder.

What is carrier screening?

Carrier screening is a specific genetic test procedure that can help identify whether a person is carrying a gene for any specific genetic disorder or not. It is helpful in determining the chances of having a child suffering from a genetic disorder, and this information can determine the future course of action. These tests are usually advised during the first an second trimesters of pregnancy as it is during these two phases that the baby’s organs an physical attributes start taking shape.

Importance of carrier screening

While a birth defect can occur during any stage of emergency, the chances are higher during the first trimester when the organs start taking shape. By undertaking screening tests, it i possible to find out whether the child is at risk of being born with certain birth defects o genetic disorders. It is a combination of the screening tests, the age and ethnicity of th parents, family history that determine the chances of a baby having genetic disorders suc as Down Syndrome, cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anaemia. If both parents are carriers of recessive gene, then there is a 25% risk of the child inheriting the gene from both parent and being born with the disorder. However, the chances are higher (50%) of the chil remaining a carrier just like the parents.

The process of carrier screening

Carrier screening is a simple process which requires testing a sample of blood, saliva or swab of tissue from the inside of your cheek. Test results are considered to be negative when a person does not have any such gene or positive when they are carrying the gene o a disorder. Usually, the partner with higher chances of being a carrier is tested first, and i the reports are negative then further testing is not required. However, in case the report are positive then the other partner is advised to undergo screening.

Conclusion

Today, there is ample advice and guidance available related to pregnancy and steps than improve the prospects of a healthy future for the mother and the unborn baby. Carrie screening tests are one such technology driven step that can be instrumental in assessing child’s risk of inherited diseases or physical disorders. By undergoing such tests, would-b mothers can not only prepare themselves for the road ahead, but also ensure a better quality of life for the baby.

(The author is Co-founder, Redcliffe Life Sciences & Crysta. Views expressed are personal.)

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