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What pregnancy screening tests do I need if I'm over 35?

A pregnant woman over age 35 may need more frequent prenatal visits or more screenings to rule out fetal abnormalities, in addition to getting the standard tests associated with pregnancy in the first trimester. Your doctor may begin with a nuchal scan, a special ultrasound that can help identify some chromosomal conditions. There are also a number of noninvasive maternal blood tests with greater than 99% accuracy in detecting chromosomal abnormalities. For moms over age 35, these tests would be routine. From there, if there is an indication that something is wrong, you may need more invasive testing such as amniocentesis or chorionic villi screening.

These tests are recommended because pregnant women over age 35 have a higher risk of having a child with a chromosomal disorder, such as Down syndrome. Doctors will also watch the mother’s health carefully because her risk of complications -- such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and placenta previa -- is going to be higher.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.