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Thursday, 25 September 2014

5 ways to reduce the chance of miscarriage

1. Start your family as early as possible, the risks increase after 35 and are much higher after 40 years of age mainly due to abnormalities in the foetus.

2. Reduce your contact with all chemicals including hair dyes, lipstick, make-up etc. Reduce consumption of preserved and chemically treated foods.

3. Avoid flying as there is alot of radiation in the atmosphere.

4. Avoid taking any medication, even over the counter medicines such as panadol when trying to get pregnant.

5. Have a check-up with your gynaecologist and if it is suspected that you have an imbalance in your hormones, do a progesterone test as this is the hormone which sustains your pregnancy in your uterus. Ensure that you exclude any inheritable conditions diagnosable by a blood test.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Latest tests for Down's Syndrome and other genetic abnormalities

One of the greatest concerns for a pregnant woman is knowing whether her child will be normal. In this day and age when more women are getting pregnant at a later age especially in Singapore, this is of an even greater concern.
Fortunately, more advances have enabled us to do these tests at an earlier and earlier stage of the pregnancy. We are now able to allay a patient's fears even at 9 weeks of pregnancy!
The latest blood tests which now almost always replace amniocentesis (tapping of the baby's water bag) include the Harmony Test and the Panorama Test. These are non-invasive prenatal tests done as early as 9 weeks. During pregnancy some of the baby's DNA passes into the mother's blood stream. This DNA can be examined through a simple blood test. This is a great test since traditional tests such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling all carry a slight risk of miscarriage. The Panorama test is about 99.5% accurate, however it is still a screening test and if the result comes back as positive the mother will still have to go through an amniocentesis.
The genetic conditions that are tested with the Panorama include Down's Syndrome (T21), Edwards Syndrome (T18), Patau's Syndrome (T13), Certain sex chromosome abnormalities such as Turner's Syndrome, Kleinefelters Syndrome, Triple X, Triploidy. The sex of the baby may also be known if requested.
The greatest drawback to these tests is the cost ranging from S$1500 to S$2000. I would normally advise these tests if the original Oscar test (traditional blood test for Down's Syndrome) comes back as positive or the patient is over 35 years. Of course it can be done for any patient upon request.