Pap Smear In Early Stage Of Pregnancy Could Detect Genetic Disorders: Study

First Posted: Nov 04, 2016 05:14 AM EDT

Here's good news for aspiring parents: Pap smear in early stage of pregnancy could detect birth defects. This is according to a new study saying prenatal screening for genetic disorders could be performed in as early as five weeks.

Pap smear may likewise be advantageous compared to current screening methods that are more invasive. According to Live Science, a woman still needs to wait until she is nine to 12 weeks pregnant before she could undergo those invasive methods. Moreover, researchers say Pap smear in early stage of pregnancy could help doctors diagnose and treat babies suffering from genetic diseases in the future.

In the study, experts tested the method in 20 healthy women between five and 19 weeks pregnant. They extracted cells from the placenta inside the reproductive tract of the mother. They tested the cells, and were able to identify and analyze fetuses' detailed genomic profiles. The study, however, did not reveal whether any of the fetuses have genetic disorders.

Additionally, there were no reports of adverse effects from the method done in the early stage of pregnancy. Being less invasive is a Pap smear's advantage. Other methods have a small risk for fetal loss.

Genetic disorders caused by a certain gene may not be common, but they are a major health burden. Detecting them earlier is crucial, for doctors could begin treating some disorders even before birth. According to Mail Online, early diagnosis can likewise affect prenatal care and determine the care a baby might need after birth. It is important to take note, however, that experts need to do further studies to determine whether the babies treated in utero may have better results compared with those who underwent treatment after birth.

Furthermore, more research is likewise needed to test the method in a larger number of participants. This is according to Dr. Jennifer Wu, an OB-GYN from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. Nevertheless, the study's findings are indeed promising and give hope to numerous aspiring parents.

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