Obstetrical Office Visit – Week 16

At 16 weeks, you most likely are finishing with the nausea and vomiting associated with early pregnancy and hopefully you are feeling more like your normal self.  For women who have been pregnant before, you may have started to feel the flutters or movements of your baby.  Women who are pregnant for the first time may not feel movement for several more weeks.

At this visit, we offer the Quad screen for those patients who have not had prior genetic testing, in particular the cell-free fetal DNA testing or the First-Trimester Screening test.  The Quad Screen is a blood test evaluating four protein/hormones and is approx 85 % detection for Down syndrome.

You will also be offered one final optional screening test.  This is the MSAFP or maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein test that looks for neural tube defects or spina bifida as well as potential GI abnormalities.  This blood test may be performed until 20 weeks, but is most accurate between the 16th and 18th week.  Babies with these abnormalities may secrete a protein, (alpha-fetoprotein), at an abnormally high level.  If detected, a follow up evaluation is indicated.

As far as general obstetrical advice, it is now recommended at this point in your pregnancy to sleep on your left side as much as possible as it provides optimum circulation.  With regards to your diet, hopefully the nausea has improved and your dietary choices have become more healthy.  Fruits and vegetables may be more appealing at this time, so take advantage!

Your next visit is in 4 weeks and traditionally includes your anatomy scan, although some patients may have this special ultrasound performed earlier.  The anatomy scan is quite detailed as the structures and organs are fully evaluated.  I find it truly amazing how much your baby has changed between 8 and 20 weeks!

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