Prenatal Testing

From pre-conception consultations through high-risk deliveries, Crozer Health provides complete prenatal screening and diagnostic services.


In this procedure, with an ultrasound as a guide, a needle is placed through the skin and into the uterus. A small amount of amniotic fluid is removed so that fetal chromosomes can be evaluated. Amniotic fluid may also give information about lung maturity and the risk of spina bifida. This procedure can be performed as early as 15 weeks gestation and as late as right before delivery. Using FISH (Florescent In-situ Hybridization), results can be available in 4-5 days, though this test has to be approved by your insurance company. Otherwise, results are usually available in 1-2 weeks.

Biophysical Testing

A biophysical profile measures fetal well-being ― including fetal heart rate, breathing, movement, tone and amniotic fluid volume through ultrasonography and non-stress testing ― and assesses potential risks.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

CVS allows first-trimester evaluation of the fetal cells for genetic disease. Under ultrasound guidance from 10 to 13 weeks gestation, either a thin tube is passed through the cervix or a needle is passed through the abdomen into the placenta to obtain a small tissue sample. Results are often available within a week.

Doppler Flow Analysis

Doppler flow is a type of ultrasound that uses sound waves to measure the flow of blood through a blood vessel. Doppler flow studies may be used to assess blood flow in the umbilical blood vein and arteries, fetal brain, and fetal heart.

Fetal Echocardiogram

This test is reserved for patients at risk for genetic heart defects. A pediatric cardiologist uses ultrasound to perform a detailed exam of the baby’s heart.

Fetal Fibronectin Testing

This noninvasive test, conducted on women who are identified as high risk for delivering preterm, measures the woman’s fetal fibronectin—the “glue” that holds the baby in the womb. Ongoing FFT can help determine a woman’s probability of going into preterm labor.

Genetic Counseling

Our highly trained genetic counselors help couples determine if their baby is at risk for a birth defect or genetic disease. Even more importantly, our counselors explain the choices when a concern is found and answer any questions. Your physician may refer you for genetic counseling for many different reasons. Some common examples are:

  • You will be 35 or older at your due date
  • An abnormal alpha feto-protein or quadruple screen test, which evaluates your risk of a chromosome abnormality in the second trimester
  • Someone in your family has a genetic condition or birth defect
  • You were exposed to certain forms of medications, infections, radiation, or a chemical agent
  • You are of an ethnic background that places your baby at risk for a genetically inherited disease

High Resolution Ultrasound

Diagnostic ultrasound machines use sound waves to provide information about your developing pregnancy, including the position of the baby, the number of babies, and the amount of amniotic fluid. High-resolution ultrasound can provide a detailed view of the baby and information about the baby’s growth. We have the ability to perform 4-D ultrasounds in our unit.

Level II Ultrasound

Ultrasound uses sound waves to create black and white visual images. A level II obstetric ultrasound is a detailed examination of the baby. Generally, this exam is done between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is a painless, non-invasive test which does not harm the baby.

During the ultrasound, a Crozer Health specialist carefully looks at the baby’s anatomy. This is to ensure the baby is growing and developing as expected.

An ultrasound can help confirm the age of the baby, and whether twins are present. Knowing the correct age of the baby is important when interpreting a woman’s MSS result. The accuracy of ultrasound dating is not exact but it is a good estimate. Ultrasound dating at 18-20 weeks of pregnancy can be off by approximately 1 week either way.

Non Stress Test

A non stress test is a test of the baby’s well-being. A nurse will monitor the baby’s heart rate, movement and contractions over a 20- to 40-minute time period. A biophysical profile that observes the baby’s behavior through ultrasound often follows this test.

Sequential Genetic Screening

Conducted between 11 and 14 weeks gestation, the simple finger-stick blood test and noninvasive ultrasound can detect up to 90 percent of Down syndrome cases. If the results of the blood test and ultrasound indicate that the fetus is at high risk for Down syndrome, the mother can opt to immediately undergo a conclusive diagnostic test called a Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) or an amniocentesis at 15 weeks gestation or later.