Services & Procedures

Prenatal Screening

Prenatal care is vital in ensuring the healthy growth and development of your baby. Regular visits to your health care provider aim to monitor your baby's progress and identify any potential problems before they become serious. Prenatal screening can provide you with more information about the health of your baby than medical examinations alone.

The Center for Fetal Medicine and Women’s Ultrasound is one of the state’s premiere centers for comprehensive prenatal services. We are dedicated to providing our patients with the highest level of specialized consultative care throughout their pregnancies, using the most advanced technology to provide these services. Our highly skilled team consists of board-certified maternal-fetal medicine specialists, a board-certified medical geneticist, perinatal sonographers, genetic counselors, and a certified diabetic educator and nutritionist, all of whom will work closely with your health care provider to provide comprehensive high-risk obstetric consultative services and compassionate care. There are important differences between genetic screening and diagnostic testing options. A genetic counselor can help you better understand these differences.

First and second trimester screening

The California Prenatal Screening Program provides information about the risk that the fetus may have certain conditions, including chromosome abnormalities, genetic disorders, and birth defects, through first and second trimester screening. This testing can occur in both the first and/or second trimesters of pregnancy and may include blood work, ultrasound, or both. Genetic counselors are available at our center should you have a screen positive (high-risk) result or wish to discuss your testing in more detail.

Cell-Free DNA Testing

Cell-free DNA testing (aka non-invasive prenatal screening) is a relatively new technology to screen for Down syndrome and certain other chromosome conditions without a risk of miscarriage to the pregnancy. Blood from the patient is drawn any time after 10 weeks of pregnancy and results are available within approximately 10 days. The detection rate for Down syndrome is higher than with routine prenatal screening, such as the California prenatal screen, but is still not as accurate or comprehensive as an invasive procedure such as CVS or amniocentesis. Because this testing is a recent introduction to the realm of prenatal testing, it is recommended that patients interested in cell-free DNA testing still undergo traditional prenatal screening through the California screening program in addition to the cell-free DNA testing.

Chorionic Villus Sample (CVS)

Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a test performed at approximately 11 to 13.5 weeks of gestation to determine whether the fetus has certain conditions. It is often used when the mother is age 35 or older, has a high-risk screen, an abnormality on ultrasound, or if any inherited conditions run in either of the parents’ families.

The chorionic villus is placental tissue. A small sample is removed for biopsy, either via the cervix or the abdomen. An ultrasound is used for guidance during the procedure. Most patients report some discomfort and pressure, but the procedure only takes a few minutes. Any discomfort is usually gone within the first few hours after the procedure.

While CVS is a common form of testing considered safe when administered by an experienced physician, it is associated with some risks. Potential complications of CVS may include miscarriage, bleeding, infection, membrane rupture, and Rh incompatibility in the mother.

A laboratory will assess the CVS sample for any indications of abnormalities in the chromosomes and/or DNA. The results are typically ready in 7-10 calendar days. CVS primarily provides information about chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome, trisomy 18, and trisomy 13, but when indicated, can also test for over 200 other conditions, including: cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, fragile X syndrome, spinal muscular atrophy, Tay-Sachs disease, and hemophilia.

Additional testing, called a microarray, can be performed on the CVS at the patient’s request and can detect hundreds of additional genetic disorders.


To learn more about our Services & Procedures or to make an appointment, call us at (323) 857-1952.

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