What is Prenatal Screening?
Prenatal screening tests are blood tests that look for only certain birth defects that can happen to anyone. There are different types of screening tests; some can only be done during certain times of your pregnancy. These screening tests have no risk of harming you or your baby.
Is Prenatal Screening Right for Me?
It is your personal choice to have prenatal screening tests. Prenatal screening is not for everyone. Positive results on genetic screening tests do not mean the baby has the condition. Positive results mean the chance the baby has the condition is higher than average. Here are some questions to consider before you decide to have prenatal screening:
- How would you feel if the screening results were positive?
- Would you consider a diagnostic test if a screening test were positive?
- If not, would you be ok waiting until the baby is born to find out for sure if the condition is present?
- Do you think this information would help you feel more prepared?
- Does the possibility of the results being uncertain make you anxious?
It is important to keep in mind that these tests are not appropriate for all women. Different tests might be better for women at a higher risk due to their age, family history or health history. These tests do not screen for all genetic conditions or birth defects. Each screening test has different accuracy for detecting certain conditions. Please speak with your doctor to help you decide which test is most appropriate for you. If you receive a positive, or abnormal, result from any of these screening tests, you should see a genetic counselor to review your results. You may choose to do more testing, or not.
If you are a "low risk" patient, with no special concerns or family history of concern, it is most likely your provider can do one of the following tests. If however, you are "high risk" (which just means there is something different about your personal or family history) then it is best to seek genetic counseling first to assure you have complete and correct information about the concern and all of your options.
Screening tests for low risk women are listed below, and definitions are below that:
Serum Integrated Screen
This test involves two blood tests taken at different times of your pregnancy. It can be done in your doctor's clinic. This test is used to estimate the chance of your baby having Down syndrome, trisomy 18 or spina bifida. The first blood draw is about 11 - 13 weeks of pregnancy. The second blood test is during the second trimester of pregnancy, between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. This test can estimate the chance of trisomy 18, detect 90% of cases of Down syndrome, and detect 80% of cases of spina bifida. It does not look for other birth defects.
This test involves a single blood test that can be done in your doctor's clinic. It also estimates the chance for Down syndrome, trisomy 18 or spina bifida. This test is done between 15 and 22 weeks of pregnancy. Like the serum integrated screen, it estimates the chance of trisomy 18, but detects only 84% of cases of Down syndrome, and detects 80% of cases of spina bifida. It does not look for other birth defects.
Cell Free DNA (cfDNA)
This involves just one blood draw that can be done in your doctor's clinic. This test can be done any time after the 12th week of pregnancy and can tell you the risk of your baby having Down syndrome, trisomy 18, trisomy 13, or sex chromosome issues. This test is often offered to women who are of higher risk, such as those who are 35 years or older. This is the best blood test we have for checking an unborn baby's chromosomes. This test does not give information about spina bifida, and an additional blood test will be offered to you during weeks 15 and 22 of your pregnancy for that condition.
Expanded Carrier Screening
This is a blood test that can be done at any time during your pregnancy or your life. This tests to see if you could pass certain rare genetic disorders on to your children. A carrier is someone who has one copy of a gene for a hereditary disease and a normal copy. If you are a carrier, then we need to test your partner. If your partner is also a carrier for the same condition, then your children have a 25% chance of having that disorder.
Below are definitions of common words you may hear or read about in terms of prenatal screening:
Down syndrome - also known as trisomy 21, this is a genetic disorder in which there is a third copy of chromosome 21. Learn more
Trisomy 18 - also known as Edward's syndrome, this is a genetic disorder in which there is a third copy of chromosome 18. Learn more
Spina bifida - a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord do not form properly. The problems a child with spina bifida will have depend on the location of the opening and if the spinal cord or nerves were affected Learn more
Chromosome - the structures in our cells that carry genetic information. Chromosomes come in pairs; one chromosome comes from the mother and the other copy from the father. Humans typically have 46 chromosomes total, in 23 pairs. Having extra, or missing, chromosomes can have different health effects, depending on which chromosome is affected.
Sex chromosome - the pair of chromosomes that determine whether the baby will be a boy or a girl. Two X chromosomes are seen in a girl, while an X and Y chromosome are found in a boy. However, when there are extra or missing sex chromosomes, babies can have health effects.
Gestational age - describes how far along the pregnancy is in terms of weeks. It is measured from the first day of the woman's last menstrual period to the current date.
Diagnostic test - these are "yes" or "no" tests that can confirm whether or not your baby has a genetic condition or birth defect. These are different from screening tests. Screening tests tell us the chance something is there. None of the tests described above are diagnostic tests. Before you have a diagnostic test, you should meet with genetic counseling to have as much correct information as possible, so you can then decide if you want a diagnostic test or not.
COVID-19 News & Announcements
HealthyNow Creekside is a COVID-19 testing site only. Existing patients with one or more COVID symptom may call to schedule a test through their primary care physician. New patients or those needing evaluation may schedule online to be seen at our HealthyNow West Valley location. In your online appointment request, please list your current symptoms so our team can better serve you. Or call 509-225-4669
UPDATED! July 23: Updated Visitation Policy
As a response to the current community situation with COVID-19, we are suspending most in-person visits to our hospitalized patients. The decision to suspend hospital visits was difficult and made only after careful consideration.
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Virginia Mason Memorial resumes surgeries.
Read one patient's story: Hip replacement and home the same day.
Curtis was one of the first hip-replacement patients in Virginia Mason Memorial history who didn't have to spend the night in the hospital after surgery, which is a growing trend.
Curtis Johnstone of Yakima waited a long time for his hip-replacement surgery - 10 years, as a matter of fact. By 2018 his doctor told him the cartilage in his right hip was gone. It was bone on bone. "It would ache, and I couldn't sleep at night," he says. "I'd have to take ibuprofen or ice it to try to calm it down." But Curtis's job didn't offer health insurance. So he literally limped along until he turned 65 and could sign up for Medicare.
In early 2020 and fully insured, Curtis, 65, was thrilled to finally book his full hip replacement surgery at Virginia Mason Memorial hospital. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As a safety precaution, all elective surgeries at Virginia Mason Memorial were halted, and Curtis’s surgery was cancelled.
So when schedulers called him in late May to rebook his hip replacement, Curtis had no reservations. “They asked me if I’d be willing to come in, and I said, ‘Absolutely!’ I figured the hospital was one of the safest places I could be,” he says. “All the precautions were in place.” Those precautions include a three-day quarantine before surgery, COVID testing and, on the day of surgery, a Memorial employee greets patients at their car, provides a mask, checks their temperature, rules out any new COVID symptoms, and helps them fill out paperwork.
Infusion Care team 'keeps going' and patient couldn't be more grateful
Gregory White has been coming to the Outpatient Infusion Care clinic at Virginia Mason Memorial for the past 10 years.
“This team is like my family,” he says. “I know most of them, and know about their kids, and they know everything about me!”
Greg was diagnosed at birth with a rare, hereditary blood disorder called Diamond-Blackfan Anemia, which affects the ability of bone marrow to produce red blood cells. The disease is often treated with blood transfusions. In fact, to manage his symptoms Greg used to have blood transfusions every three weeks. But, as he recalls, “my quality of life was almost non-existent. I was homebound and in bed 75% of the time.”
Greg is a huge baseball fan and loves anything sports-related. Anyone who knows him will tell you that Alabama is Greg’s No. 1 favorite college team. Once an avid golfer, he had a 30-year career ranging from caddy to golf pro, and everything in between until his disease forced him to stop working.
New! June 23: Going Home after Birth during the COVID-19 Pandemic
New! June 23: Volver a casa después de dar a luz durante la pandemia de COVID-19
To minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19, Virginia Mason Memorial (VMM) would like to remind all patients and visitors that masks are REQUIRED at all VMM facilities, including our clinics.
To conserve supplies, we request that all patients and visitors bring masks to their appointments. A limited number of reusable cloth masks, made by community members, will be available if you need one.
We also strongly encourage all community members to wear masks when in public - this is one of our best tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Prescription Home Delivery
We now offer home delivery for your prescription medications.
Visitors to Generations OB/GYN
As part of our continuing efforts to focus on patient safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, Generations has changed its visitor policy.
No visitors will be allowed for clinic visits, with the only exceptions being:
1 Visitor will be allowed for the first OB appointment
1 visitor will be allowed at the 20 week anatomy ultrasound
Visitors to the Family Birthplace
Women in the Family Birthplace may have one visitor.
Additional Spiritual Resources During COVID-19
Chaplains at Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital provide care for every patient regardless of their personal beliefs or non-beliefs. For support, assistance, prayers, and all other spiritual care requests, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the spiritual care office: (509) 575-8035
There are times when a direct face to face spiritual care conversation is not the best option (due to distance, a pandemic, patient preference). That's where Tele-Chaplaincy provides another possibility. You can request chaplain support using your personal, or hospital room, phone. Calls are confidential. Chaplains will listen, provide encouragement, offer help and resources, and if desired, offer prayer. If you are part of a faith community a chaplain can help you connect with them.
Without regular visits from family and friends a stay in the hospital can be even more challenging. One of our newest offerings, Virtual Chaplaincy using Zoom, helps make connections. By contacting the Spiritual Care team at the email or phone number above you can request a Zoom meeting. Family and friends throughout the Yakima Valley, from the four corners of the state, from across the country and even internationally, are meeting with patients via Zoom to offer their love and support. Due to the popularity of this option scheduling and frequency may, at times, be limited.
Hospital Lab Services
All out-patient lab services - including newborn screens and bilirubin collections - will now be provided at Memorial Cornerstone Medicine, 4003 Creekside Loop. Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday and Sunday.
The hospital pharmacy is closed to the public for the duration of the pandemic. The public may choose to have those prescriptions transferred to VMM's Pharmacy at Creekside or the pharmacy of their choice.
The Pharmacy at Creekside, 4003 Creekside Loop, is open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and offers walk-in or drive-through options for pickup.
Farmacia Del Hospital
La farmacia del hospital estará cerrada al público mientras dure la pandemia. El público puede escoger si quiere que sus recetas sean transferidas a la otra farmacia de Virginia Mason Memorial, localizada en la clínica Cornerstone o también puede elegir cualquier otra farmacia de su preferencia. La clínica de Cornerstone, está localizada en el 4003 Creekside Loop. En esta farmacia se puede recoger la medicina por la ventana y/o adentro de la clínica.
Horario: Lunes a Viernes de 8:30 a.m. a 6:00 p.m. y sábado y domingo de las 8:00 a.m. a las 4:30 pm