Pregnancy Testing

Purposes of Tests

During your pregnancy you may be offered a variety of screening and diagnostic tests. Many families wonder what tests, if any, they should use to help ensure the health of mother and baby. Your decision to use or not use a technology for testing should be based on what provides the least amount of risk with the most benefits for both mother and baby.

In many ways, prenatal tests can be helpful to a family. If you are well informed about your options, understand your risks and equip yourself with a good understanding of the tests available, prenatal tests can help you get information you need to feel confident in your decisions. You can choose to utilize only those tests most likely to provide you with useful information.

What is useful information varies from family to family. Some families decide to use prenatal testing because they want to be sure their baby is healthy. However, it is important to understand although prenatal testing can be helpful at detecting certain conditions, they do not give you a guarantee your child will not have other problems. Other families decide to use specific prenatal tests which detect problems in areas they know they are at a higher than average risk for developing. Many families choose not to use one or more tests offered because they know the outcome of the test would not affect how they manage their pregnancy or prepare for childbirth.

As you consider the tests available to you, ask yourself the following questions:

Am I or my baby at risk for a condition this test can detect?


What will I do with the information from this test?


What changes will I make if the test comes back positive or negative?