Advances in Prenatal Diagnosis

Jane Cleary-Goldman, MD; Fergal Malone, MD

Disclosures

Appl Radiol. 2005;34(9):8-18. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Prenatal diagnosis has revolutionized prenatal care and provides genetic, anatomic, and physiologic information about the fetus(es) that can be used to make informed decisions regarding pregnancy and delivery, thus improving maternal and fetal outcomes. Advances in the fields of maternal-fetal medicine, radiology, and genetics have greatly improved prenatal diagnosis.

Prenatal diagnosis has revolutionized prenatal care from the perspective of both the patient and the physician. For the patient, prenatal diagnosis provides genetic, anatomic, and physiologic information about the fetus or fetuses that can be used to make informed and individualized decisions regarding the pregnancy. For the physician, prenatal diagnosis provides vital information that can be utilized for better antepartum management. Information regarding specific anatomic anomalies affords the physician the opportunity to offer the patient sophisticated prenatal procedures, such as fetal surgery or selective fetal reduction in multiple gestations. Likewise, prenatal knowledge about genetic, physiologic, and/or anatomic abnormalities enables the physician to tailor or manage the timing and mode of delivery for optimal maternal and fetal outcomes. Prenatal diagnosis also allows the neonatal and pediatric specialists to be adequately prepared for a potentially ill neonate at delivery.

Recent progress in the fields of maternal fetal medicine, radiology, and genetics has resulted in great advances in prenatal diagnosis. The following article will review the recent major advances in this rapidly progressing field.

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