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Antenatal Testing Services

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The Antenatal Testing Unit at Jersey City Medical Center performs obstetrical ultrasounds, providing diagnostic images throughout your pregnancy. The highly skilled, compassionate team comprising the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) provides an exceptional level of high-risk maternity and neonatal care, and is recognized for quality comprehensive care for women during their high-risk pregnancies. Our perinatologists are board-certified in OB/GYN services and MFM.

Patients are seen following the referral of an obstetrician who has determined that a pregnancy-related condition requires the expertise of specialists, which includes, but is not limited to:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • High blood pressure
  • Incompetent cervix
  • Infectious diseases
  • Multiple births (twins, triplets, or more)
  • Preeclampsia (toxemia)
  • Premature rupture of membranes
  • Recurrent preterm labor and delivery
  • Suspected abnormalities in the fetus
  • Suspected fetal growth restriction (baby not growing enough)
  • Thyroid disease

The unit additionally provides screening and diagnostic services that look for chromosomal abnormalities, risk of preterm birth, and blood flow in the umbilical cord and fetal brain.

First Trimester Screenings

Routine Ultrasounds

If you are over the age of 30, taking fertility drugs or had in vitro fertilization, the chances of carrying multiple babies is higher. A routine ultrasound in the first trimester will determine if you are carrying more than one child.

Premature labor (before 37 weeks of pregnancy), preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and growth issues, as well as increased need to have a caesarian section, are complications of multiple births. Twins and triplets are more likely to be smaller for their size than single birth infants and are likely to have difficulty breathing.

The Jersey City Medical Center staff will work with your obstetrician and monitor your pregnancy every step of the way to ensure the health of you and your babies.

Genetic Testing

During pregnancy, it's common for women to be concerned about their baby's health. To help reduce some of this anxiety, expectant mothers may opt for first trimester screening for genetic or chromosomal defects. This non-invasive screening rules out or confirms if the fetus has genetic or chromosomal defects such as Down syndrome (trisomy 21) and Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18). Typically performed between weeks 11 and 14 of pregnancy, the screening is a blood test combined with an ultrasound.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends genetic counseling for patients who are 35 years or older at the time of delivery since the risk for having a child with a chromosome abnormality increases with maternal age. In addition to first trimester screening, older mothers have the option of amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling for the detection of fetal chromosome abnormalities.

Receiving a positive result doesn't automatically determine that your baby has a genetic defect, but it indicates whether more invasive tests are necessary to determine any disorders.

Genetic counseling is recommended for expectant mothers older than 35 since the risk of genetic complications increase with age. Genetic counselors will determine the risk of genetic complications from your medical and family history and refer you to the appropriate and necessary tests.

Screening for Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes, or diabetes during pregnancy, is diabetes that first develops when a woman is pregnant. All pregnant women are screened for gestational diabetes – usually between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy and earlier for women with risk factors. Those most at risk for gestational diabetes are women who:

  • have a family history of diabetes

  • had a baby who weighed more than nine pounds

  • had a miscarriage

  • are older than 25

  • have had a stillbirth in a previous pregnancy

  • are African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic, Latina or Pacific Islander

  • are overweight

Many women can have healthy pregnancies if they manage their diabetes, following a diet and treatment plan from their health care provider. Uncontrolled gestational diabetes increases the risk for preterm labor and delivery, preeclampsia, and high blood pressure.

If you develop gestational diabetes, the Jersey City Medical Center OB/GYN team will closely monitor you and your baby to ensure proper health.

Monitoring Blood Pressure to Prevent Hypertension

While many pregnant women with hypertension – or high blood pressure – have healthy babies without major problems, it can lead to serious health complications for both the mother and baby.

The two main types of hypertension are:

  • Chronic hypertension – high blood pressure that was present before a woman becomes pregnant or that occurs in the first half (before 20 weeks) of pregnancy.

  • Gestational hypertension – high blood pressure that first occurs in the second half (after 20 weeks) of pregnancy. Although gestational hypertension usually goes away after childbirth, it may increase the risk of developing hypertension in the future.

The effects of high blood pressure range from mild to severe and may include:

  • Fetal growth restriction. High blood pressure can decrease the flow of nutrients to the baby through the placenta.

  • Preeclampsia. In severe cases, women develop preeclampsia, which is increased blood pressure that affects organ function. This condition is more likely to occur in women with chronic high blood pressure than in women with normal blood pressure.

  • Preterm delivery. If the placenta is not providing enough nutrients and oxygen to your baby, it may be decided that early delivery is better for your baby than allowing the pregnancy to continue.

  • Placental abruption. This condition, in which the placenta prematurely detaches from the wall of the uterus, is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

  • Cesarean delivery. Women with hypertension are more likely to have a cesarean delivery than women with normal blood pressure.

At Jersey City Medical Center, we will regularly monitor your blood pressure during the course of your pregnancy to prevent hypertension related complications.

Amniocentesis

Usually performed between 14 and 20 weeks of pregnancy, amniocentesis can be used to diagnose many different gene and chromosome issues in a fetus including:

  • Down syndrome
  • Rare, metabolic disorders that are passed down through families
  • Other genetic abnormalities such as trisomy 18

The procedure involves removing a small amount of fluid from the uterus.

The amniotic fluid contains genetic information, which will help confirm or rule out any genetic abnormalities.

This diagnostic test is often suggested for women with a family history of genetic disorders, who are more than 35 years old or who had an abnormal result on previous screenings.

Amniocentesis is 99 percent accurate for diagnosing Down syndrome.

High-Risk Pregnancy

A high-risk pregnancy may pose challenges before, during or after delivery, it's important to understand what causes a high-risk pregnancy and what steps you can take to ensure good health for you and your baby.

Factors that might place a pregnancy at high risk include:

  • Existing health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, autoimmune disease and obesity

  • First time pregnancy 35 and over (advanced maternal age) and teen pregnancy

  • Lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking

  • Multiple gestation – pregnancy with twins, triplets and more

At Jersey City Medical Center, we take special care and monitor the mother and unborn child to minimize complications of high risk pregnancies.

Our Team

The Maternal-Fetal Medicine unit is staffed by a compassionate and knowledgeable team of sonographers, nurses, and perinatologists. Our goal is to take the stress out of dealing with a high-risk pregnancy and to provide individualized care during the term of your pregnancy, including labor and delivery and postpartum. Barak Rosenn, MD is director of the Maternal-Fetal Medicine unit.

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