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We offer all types of ultrasounds, from conception to delivery

Dating and viability
NT scan
11-13 wk early anatomy
Detailed 18-22 wk fetal anatomy
Third Trimester
Second Opinion
DCDA twins

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A note about the
First Trimester Combined Screening 

Welcoming new life is a journey, and each stage is filled with questions and choices. One such choice you may consider is the traditional first-trimester combined risk screening. This gentle, non-invasive screening is available to expectant mothers between 11+3 weeks and 13 weeks + 5 days of pregnancy, and is fully covered by Alberta Health Care.


Designed to gauge the likelihood of chromosomal variances, such as Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21), Trisomy 13, and Trisomy 18, this screening is merely a guide for your healthcare journey. It’s important to remember that it doesn't give a definitive yes or no answer, but rather provides a calculated risk assessment.


Choosing to partake in this screening is entirely up to you, based on what feels right for your beliefs and family. It’s another tool to help health care providers monitor your pregnancy more accurately, and if needed, prepare for the possibility of a child born with a genetic condition.


How does the First Trimester Combined Screening work?

The first trimester combined screening comprises two components: an ultrasound measurement of the Nuchal Translucency (NT), and a blood test.

The 11-13 wk early ultrasound provides dating, viability, early fetal anatomy assessment, and can measure the baby's fluid-filled space at the back of their neck, and the nasal bone. During the ultrasound, you'll receive a requisition for a blood draw, which needs to be completed before 13 weeks + 5 days of pregnancy for a complete screening.

Data from your blood test, such as age and hormone levels, is paired with the ultrasound information to calculate the chance of chromosomal variances in your baby for the number of chromosomes 21, 18, 13.

One of the markers in the blood test is a hormone called PAPP-A. If found at low levels, it can indicate a heightened risk of complications like high blood pressure or growth restriction. If this is the case, you might need closer monitoring throughout your pregnancy, including additional ultrasounds or a prescription for aspirin.

Making Sense of the Results

The First Trimester Screening has a detection rate of 82% for T21, meaning it would identify about 82 out of 100 babies with Down Syndrome.

Your doctor will help you understand the results, which offer specific risk estimates for the some of the most frequent chromosomal differences in fetuses: trisomy 13, trisomy 18, and trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome).


Screen Negative

A "screen negative" result signifies that the likelihood of chromosomal variances is less than 1 in 300. While most pregnancies with a screen negative will not result in a baby with these variances, it could miss a small number.

Screen Positive

Conversely, a "screen positive" result indicates a higher than average chance. Though it can be alarming, remember that most screen positive results do not lead to a baby with chromosomal differences.

If you receive a screen positive result, it might lead you to explore further testing options, including chorionic villous sampling (CVS), amniocentesis, or non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS).

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Remember, each step in this journey is yours to choose, as you prepare to welcome new life into your world. We are here to support you with information and guidance, every step of the way.

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