I'm 23 years old and have been told today that my baby has a 1:190 chance of Down's. Im 16 weeks pregnant. Can you give me any advice?

We presume that you have had a blood test (triple/quadruple test) or combined nuchal scan with blood tests that has given you this risk of 1:190, which is higher than your age based risk of baby having Down's and roughly equivalent to that of a woman aged 38. This risk is categorised as 'increased risk' (greater than 1:250) at which invasive testing by amniocentesis is normally offered. You have just under a half a percent risk of baby having Down's-or, to put it another way, a 99.5 percent chance of baby being normal. The risk of miscarrying from an amnio is between 0.5 and 1 percent. It is a very personal choice, but if you feel you have to know-you should have an amnio. If the thought of having a miscarriage of a healthy baby is worse to you than the possibility of having a Down's baby, you may decide not to have an amnio. You should speak to your partner, doctor and midwife-but the final decision needs to be yours.
How likely is it that my baby will have Down''s syndrome?

The risk of having a baby with Down''s syndrome is related to your age, although parents of any age can have a Down''s child. It is not related to how many children you have had, whether you have a new partner, or to drugs that you might have taken at or around the time of conception.


Amniocentesis: Guiding the needle

First, to help the doctor be absolutely precise when inserting the needle, an ultrasound scanner is used to establish the exact position of the fetus and the placenta. Second a fine needle is inserted into the womb and into a pool of amniotic fluid.

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