16th week of pregnancy – is a crucial period for woman, because in addition to the traditional analysis of urine and blood pressure and weight control, as well as listening to the fetal heart, she may designated to pass screening test which will allow to detect or refute the presence of severe fetal defects.
For this it will be necessary to pass a blood test from a vein, by which a doctor will assess the level of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and unconjugated estriol (NE) in a woman’s body.
Deviations of indicators of AFP, hCG and NE from the norm may indicate the possibility of a a baby’s Down syndrome, traumatic brain herniation, anencephaly or defect of the spine development.
If screening results are unfavorable, the pregnant woman can be offered to make amniotsentoz – take the amniotic fluid for the study of their composition. This is done by needling under ultrasound guidance, a special needle that takes a sample of amniotic fluid is introduced into the uterus.
Amniocentesis can diagnose about 40 of congenital malformations, but this manipulation, unfortunately, can cause quite serious complications of pregnancy up to interruption and premature birth.
Even if the expectant mother has not felt a baby moving in this period, she may admire its flip-flops during the ultrasound, because the screen already shows the moving and grimacing baby. Also, if you are lucky pregnant, a doctor may already determine and tell her the sex of the baby.