Screening for birth defects in the first trimester is rare. The first trimester is calculated by taking the date of conception or by calculating the number of days from the last period of the menstrual cycle in a woman to the third month. This amounts to the first trimester in the pregnancy cycle.
During the first trimester, the fetus is developing very rapidly and the mother does not even realize it. It is attached to the uterus wall and is developing many organs within its body. The fetus heart starts beating as early as 45 days in the pregnancy. If the doctor sees a sign of irregularity in the heartbeat, then it is possible that he or she may want to conduct a screening test to rule out certain abnormalities in the child.
The regular tests that are conducted during the first trimester are blood tests which rule out the possibilities of many diseases in the mother so that the mother and fetus are safe during the pregnancy.
The screening for birth defects is carried out only if the doctor suspects a baby with Down syndrome or other similar dysfunctions in the baby. The screening test would involve drawing the blood from the placenta and also the amniotic fluid. This test, however, is never conducted too early in the pregnancy because the results may be inconclusive. It may be conducted towards the end of the first trimester and in most cases it will be repeated in the second trimester as well to ensure the accuracy of the tests.
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