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Fetal Care

Diagnostic Testing

The St. Louis Fetal Care Institute uses the latest technology to determine what is happening with your baby and how best to treat the problem. Tests include:

  • Ultrasound: Targeted sonographic evaluation can identify birth defects of any organ system in the fetus. The technology identifies problems early so the team and parents can determine the next course of action.

  • Amniocentesis: This procedure uses a small needle to withdraw a sample of amniotic fluid to detect chromosome abnormalities and metabolic problems.

  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS): This is an alternate method used to detect chromosome abnormalities. It can be performed earlier than amniocentesis, between 10 and 12 weeks  to allow doctors and parents additional time to explore treatment options.

  • Fetal blood sampling: This is a process in which a doctor draws blood from a baby’s umbilical cord. The blood can be used for genetic analysis or to examine blood count levels.   

  • Ultrafast MRI: This technology can pinpoint structural anomalies and exclude other anomalies in many parts of the fetal body. Mom is placed in an MRI machine that moves quickly enough to capture images of the moving baby. This helps the physician determine if any structural abnormalities exist.  

  • Genetic screening: Using karyotype analysis and gene array technology, this information helps physicians determine the potential for genetic abnormalities that might be present in the unborn baby. Our team can discuss the results and what risks of an inherited disorder might be present in your baby. This is an opportunity to learn your options to prevent or treat potential conditions.

  • Fetal echocardiogram: This procedure allows the physician to look at the heart of the baby and detect defects and congenital heart disease as early as 20 or 22 weeks into the pregnancy.

  • Diagnostic fetoscopy: This is a minimally invasive operation in which a small  fiber-optic tube is placed in the uterus to visually examine the fetus.

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