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Are there tests to detect chromosomal abnormalities in a fetus?

Q: Our first child was born through a caesarean section with certain abnormalities like her limbs were missing. She died eventually. Is it likely to happen in future pregnancies? What are the tests that parents can undergo in order to prevent this chromosomal abnormality? Also, how early can we plan the next pregnancy?

A:The tests that are needed are an autopsy of the baby for other defects, and then maternal tests like, ToRCH, (Toxoplasma, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, Herpes and others), VDRL (Venereal Diseases Research Laboratory test to screen for syphilis), GTT (glucose tolerance test) for diabetes. A careful search for intake of some drugs or medicines during the pregnancy has to be thought of and a family history too needs to be explored. The next pregnancy should be planned only after a gap of two years, during which testing and treatment can be taken. The chance or recurrence in next pregnancy can be determined only after the tests. Counselling with a geneticist is also recommended.

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