Perinatal Services

We offer highly sophisticated perinatal diagnostic services which include: amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, non-stress test, and various ultrasound modalities.

ULTRASOUND

Our ultrasound examinations provide reassurance and detailed information regarding the actual state and condition of your pregnancy; in short a very clear view of your baby. This cornerstone of our practice also allows it to be a site for innovative development in the field; training and education for physicians, technologists and nurses. We offer only state of the art technology and have always had early access to new advances participating in application and development. We believe our background and this approach to practice have provided the basis for excellence in the field both for your benefit and for that of your baby.

FIRST TRIMESTER ULTRA-SCREEN/INSTANT RISK ASSESSMENT (IRA)

First-Trimester screening is a normal, reliable test used for early pregnancy evaluation.  It consists of two parts:

1. ) A blood test, drawn from either your arm or your finger.
2. ) A detailed ultrasound examination of your baby.

The IRA program allows the earliest possible risk assessment for Down syndrome (Trisomy 21), Trisomy 18, and Trisomy 13.

By having your blood drawn at 10 weeks gestation, you will be able to get immediate results on the day of your ultrasound examination, which is carried out between 11.5 & 12.5 weeks gestation.

One of the specialist physicians at Atlanta Perinatal Consultants will conduct and interpret your ultrasound examination and combine those results with those of your earlier blood test.  This will provide us with a final calculation of your risk for Down syndrome, Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13. In the event of an “at risk” result, we will provide you with additional consultation, genetic counseling and testing options as appropriate to your needs.

NON-STRESS TEST (NST)

This is a painless procedure preformed in our office using a fetal monitor to listen to and evaluate your baby’s heartbeats.  An NST observes the baby’s heart rate while the baby moves.  Fetal activity with a rise in the baby’s heart rate is a good indication of fetal well being.  This test usually takes 30 minutes to complete.  Two monitors are placed on your abdomen.  One will record the baby’s movements and/or uterine contractions, while the other records the baby’s heart rate.  The physician caring for you will interpret the test and let you know if further testing is needed. 

CHORIONIC VILLUS SAMPLING (CVS)

CVS can be performed earlier in pregnancy than a genetic amniocentesis.  It is usually performed at 10 – 12 weeks after the last menstrual period.  This allows for earlier detection of chromosomal abnormalities.

When CVS is performed, a small sample of cells is taken from the placenta where it attaches to the wall of the uterus.  Chorionic villi are tiny parts of the placenta, formed from the fertilized egg.  Therefore, they have the same genes as the fetus.  An ultrasound is also performed with CVS.

To collect the sample, a speculum is inserted as it would be for a Pap test.  Then, a very thin, plastic tube is inserted through the vagina and into the cervix.  With ultrasound, the tube is guided to the placenta and a small sample is removed.  The sample is then sent to the lab for genetic testing.  Occasionally, the sample must be obtained by inserting a needle through the abdominal wall.  This decision cannot be made until the time of your appointment.  This will be discussed with you before any procedure is performed.  This procedure usually takes 45 minutes to complete.

GENETIC AMNIOCENTESIS

This procedure is often performed between 14 – 21 weeks, to rule out or identify chromosomal abnormalities.  Amniocentesis is often offered as an optional test when risks or concerns exist for genetic problems.  This procedure usually requires 45 minutes to complete.

This is a simple medical procedure used to obtain a small amount of the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus.  An ultrasound is performed with the amniocentesis to check the position of your baby and to locate pockets of fluid.  The doctor will insert a needle into the amniotic sac to remove a few teaspoons of fluid for testing.  It usually takes 1 – 2 minutes.  Amniotic fluid contains cells from the fetus that can be tested.  These cells have the same genetic makeup as the fetus.

AMNIOCENTESIS FOR FETAL LUNG MATURITY (LS/PG)

This procedure is performed to rule out or identify fetal lung maturity.  The information obtained from these results will help aid your doctors in deciding the best time to deliver your baby.  It is a simple medical procedure used to obtain a small amount of the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus.  An ultrasound is performed with the amniocentesis to check the position of your baby and to locate pockets of fluid.  The doctor will insert a needle into the amniotic sac to remove a small amount of fluid for testing.  After your amniocentesis, you may be placed on a fetal monitor for a non-stress test. 

CONSULTATION

Consultations are available for fetal conditions affecting development including birth defects such as cleft lip/ palate, club foot, neural tube defects, and Downs Syndrome. In addition, consultations are available for special care pregnancies. These include those pregnancies complicated by hypertension, diabetes, pre-term labor, recurrent preterm labor, recurrent abortion, anemia, and collagen vascular diseases. Phone consultations and collaborative management are also available. Perinatal transfers can be accepted on an as needed basis.

GENETIC COUNSELING

A genetic counselor is a health care professional with a master’s degree in human genetics and counseling. Genetic counseling might be useful in the following circumstances:
·    Individuals with a family history of an inherited disorder, birth defects, or mental retardation.
·    Individuals with abnormal results from a genetic screening or diagnostic test.
·    Individuals concerned about risks to the pregnancy that might arise from his or her job, lifestyle, or medical history (including exposure to infection, medicines, alcohol, street drugs, chemicals or other environmental agents).
·    A woman who is 35 years old or older when her baby is born.
·    A woman who has had two or more miscarriages or early infant deaths.
·    Couples who are first cousins or other close blood relatives.
·    Couples with infertility thought to have a genetic cause.
·    Men with congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens (CBAVD).

Watch a real maternity ultrasound.


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