Northwestern Women’s Health Associates, S.C
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Improvement in genetic testing during pregnancy benefit our Chicago patients

DNA testing has been a normal part of obstetrics care for decades. In addition to standard screenings in the first and second trimesters, mothers-to-be may also fall into a category in which specific genetic testing is recommended. The purpose of genetic testing is to screen for chromosomal disorders and other health concerns. The forms of testing that have been widely available; amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling are extremely accurate but may not be necessary in every situation thanks to advances in DNA analysis during pregnancy.

In depth screening with amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling is standard. for women over age 35. The standard for genetic testing for women under age 35 is the first and second trimester stepwise screams which involves blood tests and ultrasound. The stepwise screening had an increased number of false-positives for birth disorders. The physicians at Northwestern Women's Health Associates, S.C. offer an excellent new option: cell-free DNA testing in a simple blood test.

Cell-free DNA testing is possible through the analysis of the mother's blood because, after the 10th week of pregnancy, approximately 10 percent of the DNA present in mother's blood belongs to the fetus. This discovery, which led to advanced screening, has changed how we screen for genetic diseases in pregnancy.

In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, cell-free DNA testing was found to be 10 times more accurate in the prediction of Down's syndrome compared to standard blood analysis and ultrasound. This innovative analysis is five times more accurate than standard testing at predicting Trisomy 18, another genetic disorder, with fewer false-positive results.

What is the benefit of cell-free DNA testing and should I request testing?

Before the development of more accurate testing, a greater number of women may have been subjected to unnecessary invasive testing. A false positive from standard testing can be stressful, as can the need for additional testing. At this time, however, cell-free DNA testing is not recommended for normal, healthy pregnancies that do not meet certain criteria for risk, or under age 35. Insurance companies are not paying for this if there are no risks.

Our team is committed to providing the best obstetrics care in the Chicago area. When consulting with new patients, our goal is to perform the standard of care that assesses and maintains a healthy pregnancy. Invasive testing is offered for women at high risk if women want analysis of all the chromosomes. However, today many women are choosing the no risk cell free DNA. In situations that it may be warranted, your physician will discuss with you which type of testing is most suitable to the detection of potential conditions for which risk exists.

Receive personalized obstetrics care at Northwestern Women's Health Associates S.C. in Chicago. Call 1-312-440-9400 or request an appointment online.

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  • 5 Star Review
    "Wonderful experience with Dr. Julianne Morton @ NW Women's Associates. I've recommended her to countless girlfriends. Being a first time mom, I went through many physical symptoms and emotions that accompany pregnancy. She is extremely thorough, patient, and has wonderful bedside manner. I felt confident going into delivery with Dr. Morton taking the lead with my delivery. Wonderful practice!"

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    "Dr. Morton is absolutely amazing. She cared for me throughout my first pregnancy and we found her to be kind and caring and straightforward - could not have asked for a better experience! Dr. Dunn ended up being on call during my delivery and she was great as well. I have always found the nurses and office staff to be friendly and on top of things - very happy with the practice!"

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    "Dr.Julianne Morton is amazing! I was recommended by a friend when I moved to the Chicago area and was looking for an OB-GYN. I have seen her for two years in Chicago for my yearly exam. She is beyond kind and great at what she does. Dr.Morton makes you feel very comfortable and is such an incredible doctor! I have recommended her to all of my friends as well who need a new gyno/OB-GYN."

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    "Dr. Morton is a really great doctor. She has an incredible bedside manner and makes you feel comfortable. She makes sure to ask if you have any questions and will happily answer all of them with you. Would highly recommend!"

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    "Dr. Friedell is amazing! He helped delivered my first baby and the whole process was super smooth and stress free. All the staff in the office are super friendly too. Highly recommend!"

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    "I visited Dr Feldstein office yesterday. All of his stuff was very kind and nice to me. He has a professional-team, so I know I have nothing to be afraid of. Just wanted to say thanks to all the people I meet. I am in good hands."

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    "Dr Freidell is extremely knowledgeable, thorough and really cares about his patients. He is very good at getting to the root of the problem, especially with overlapping symptoms. He guided me through all my options and their implications. I will highly recommend him and his team."

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    "I love Dr. Belmonte. I have been going to her since 2006! She rocks!!! She is straight to the point, I love that about her. When I leave her office after seeing her I always feel great, like a just left a good friends house or something!"
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    "I can not tell you how wonderful my experiences have been. Dr. Sharon Wise is my doctor and she is fantastic. She is straightforward and honest about treatments and procedures. I enjoy her sense of humor, and I found her bedside manner when delivering my son to be excellent. "

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