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First-Trimester Screening

When the results first came in, you couldn’t believe it. It’s real. You’re pregnant! Immediately, you want to do everything possible to protect that growing life within you. You start reading everything you can to prepare for this pregnancy, but the more research you do, the more discouraged you feel. Suddenly, you’re acutely aware of everything that could go wrong; you want assurance and answers, and you want them now.

First-trimester screening occurs during the first three months of pregnancy, typically between the 10th and 14th week; it combines fetal ultrasound and maternal blood testing. This screening process can determine the fetus’s risk of having specific congenital disabilities, including Down syndrome, trisomy 13, or trisomy 18. During the procedure, we will perform an ultrasound (usually transvaginal) to examine the fetus. Blood is then drawn from the mother’s vein and sent to a lab for analysis.

In terms of timing, the ultrasound portion of the appointment usually takes 20 minutes. If your baby is not cooperating or being a bit “camera shy,” your appointment may need to be rescheduled. Blood sampling results are usually ready within one week.

First Trimester Screening
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What We Do

Fetal ultrasound is an imaging technique that uses sound waves to produce a fetus’s image in the uterus. Fetal ultrasound images allow Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian to monitor your pregnancy, evaluate your baby’s growth and development, and assess possible problems or help confirm a diagnosis.

The first fetal ultrasound is typically performed during the 1st trimester. This visit will confirm your pregnancy. If your pregnancy remains uncomplicated, the second ultrasound is often done during the 2nd trimester. At this magical appointment, anatomic details are often seen! A follow-up ultrasound or additional imaging tests (MRIs) may be recommended if any problems are suspected.

Genetic testing concerning pregnancy can be broken down into two categories: screening and diagnostic. Screening is recommended to couples who may be at risk to pass on inherited diseases to the fetus (i.e., cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia). Diagnostic tests can be given to confirm that a genetic disorder is present if that information is deemed important to you. Support is available to help you manage your pregnancy — you are not alone. Request a consultation with Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian.

High-risk pregnancy monitoring allows a healthcare specialist to monitor the fetus during a pregnancy that is considered high-risk. This monitoring service includes fetal monitoring, non-stress tests, biophysical profiles, and ultrasounds for fetal growth. This service will vary based on the condition of the pregnancy. If your pregnancy is complicated, you may need additional monitoring. Monitoring is not just about the technical aspects listed above. At Unity Maternal Fetal MedicineDr. Heather Stanley-Christian believes in supporting women comprehensively, including monitoring their overall well-being.

Nuchal translucency, or nuchal translucency screening, is a specialized ultrasound done during the first trimester of pregnancy. This routine screening can tell you if your child has a chance of developing a chromosomal disorder (i.e., Down syndrome). The results are not definitive and only show the possibility that a baby may have a specific problem. Diagnostic tests, such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis, can determine for sure if your baby has a health issue.

The screening can be done as a standalone appointment under limited circumstances. If you schedule a consultation at Unity Maternal Fetal Medicine in Winter Garden, Florida, Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian can discuss the screening with you.

Our expert team of gentle (yet honest) caregivers will educate and guide you through all aspects of preconception, conception, fetal care, and pregnancy —regardless of your health history or pregnancy risks— to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your baby. At Unity Maternal Fetal Medicine, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll be educated and taken care of by Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian, a triple board-certified physician with over 25 years of experience.

Specific genetic counseling relates to any parentally-inherited disorder that may impact the pregnancy or the future adult. Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian provides this service at Unity Maternal Fetal Medicine in Winter Garden, Florida. Not only is Dr. Stanley-Christian a board-certified OB/GYN and Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist, but she is also a board-certified geneticist. Many couples schedule genetic counseling with a counselor, but Dr. Stanley-Christian gives you the benefit of speaking with a medical professional who is more than a counselor.

Lifestyle guidance plays a vital role in contributing to a favorable pregnancy outcome. This service, provided by Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian, offers advice and information to help you have the safest possible pregnancy. This service covers anything in life that would require management for a high-risk pregnancy. If your pregnancy is high-risk due to obesity, Dr. Stanley-Christian will guide you on keeping you and your baby as healthy as possible.

First-trimester screening can help identify women who may need additional monitoring

First-trimester screening can help identify women who may need additional monitoring or testing during pregnancy and potentially determine an increased risk of congenital disabilities in the fetus. First-trimester screening is just a simple screen; a positive result will need to be discussed within the context of your specific outcome to decide if additional testing would be beneficial for an accurate diagnosis.

When you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, education is everything. Allow Unity Maternal Fetal Medicine to provide the knowledge you seek.

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When you contact us to share your feelings, concerns, and desires, we will listen attentively and advise you with equal measures of expertise and warmth.


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