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6.a What are the benefits of the test?




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This article is from the Pregnancy Screening FAQ, by Lynn Gazis-Sax (gazissax@netcom.com) with numerous contributions by others.

6.a What are the benefits of the test?

It can help you make decisions about your pregnancy. If the results are
abnormal, and follow-up diagnostic testing shows defects, some women may
decide to terminate the pregnancy. For those who carry an affected baby to
term, the information can help in managing the delivery and early care of
the infant. This can improve the long and short term outlook for the child.
Sometimes when the AFP level is high, but the baby is normal, it is a
forewarning of later pregnancy complications such as prematurity or low
birthweight. Knowledge of this risk may alter the management of your
pregnancy.

There is recent evidence that shows that babies born with spina bifida may
benefit greatly from being delivered via cesarean section. So having a
cesarean in addition to other early intervention could significantly change
the outcome for such a child and his/her family. (the woman who told me
this could not find the source for reference. Your doctor might have more
information. I could not find anything on medline but I am a medline
novice.) [It looks equivocal. There is no consensus on this, and it may end
up being decided one way or the other--so the answer is, ask the doctor.]

 

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