Stomach & Intestinal Complications
Some babies with Downs will have problems swallowing. This is often caused by blocked stomach or intestinal passages. Surgery can be done to fix this as well.
Babies with Downs can also suffer from several other minor problems; susceptibility to cold, ear, and sinus infections, seizures, thyroid problems, bone and joint problems, muscle development problems, and hearing loss.
Previously, screening for Downs syndrome took place in the second trimester through an alpha-fetoprotein test. A safer method of testing has now been developed which allows parents to screen their baby for Downs syndrome, as well as trisomy 18, in the first trimester.
Most other types of prenatal screening tests involve removing part of the placenta or amniotic fluid and carry a slight risk of miscarriage. However, this new form of screening has been able to eliminate this risk while making the results more accurate.
Known as the Combined First-Trimester Screening (CFTS), this prenatal test involves examining a sample of the maternal blood for specific proteins and hormones. Now that health professionals are being trained in this technique, it is becoming more available throughout the United States.
Additionally, ultrasound or sonogram images of the fetus are analyzed to determine the thickness of skin on the back of the baby's neck, thereby eliminating almost all risk to mother and child.
The screening test has been found to be 87% effective at detecting Downs syndrome in the first trimester. Combined with second trimester screening, results are about 95% accurate.
It can be performed as early as 11 weeks after conception. However, it is important to remember that this is an assessment test, not a diagnostic test, and therefore can only suggest your child's risk of having Downs syndrome.
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