Q. Is there any blood test to detect Down's syndrome in a fetus?

Answered by
Dr. R Balakrishnan Menon
and medically reviewed by Dr. K Shobana
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 27, 2017 and last reviewed on: Nov 03, 2021

Hello doctor,

My wife is three months pregnant, so we went for a scan to check for Down's syndrome and the baby's brain growth. I have attached the scan report. Please suggest if everything is fine, as we did not see our normal doctor.



Welcome to

Nice to hear from you. I have seen the scan report (attachment removed to protect patient identity). The scan is absolutely fine.

  • Down's syndrome is diagnosed early from this scan. The nuchal translucency of 1.3 mm is normal (up to 2.5 mm is fine). The nasal bone is seen, which is also normal. Ductus venosus flow is normal. These three findings rule out Down's syndrome.
  • So early in pregnancy, values of BPD (biparietal diameter), AC (abdominal circumference), and FL (femur length) are not significant. The growth of the baby is seen by CRL (crown-rump length), which shows the growth corresponding to the period of gestation.
  • So, there is nothing to worry, the scan is absolutely normal and needs no further evaluation. Next scan will be at 20 weeks. Hope I have clarified your query, do write back. For further queries, revert back.

Thank you doctor,

Is there any blood test for Down's syndrome? My doctor only prescribed a scan for Down's syndrome.



Welcome back to

  • You have an array of investigation to diagnose Down's syndrome. A blood test is done only if there is a risk like the mother's age is more than 40 years, previous Down's baby, or a doubtful scan. As you have no risk factors, you do not need to have a blood test.
  • If you get anxious, your doctor will be forced to do all unnecessary test for you to feel good. These tests may further confuse you. For more information consult back.

Hello doctor,

Hope you are doing good. My wife is in her 17th week of pregnancy. She was prescribed with Duphaston till 16 weeks, and she stopped it after 4th month check up. Now, she started getting a white vaginal discharge. We went to the doctor, and she gave a few medicines for infection. They are Cansoft-CL, Tinidazole, and Cefixime. Cansoft-CL to be inserted into the vagina for three days while Tinidazole and Cefixime are to be taken in the morning and evening. I am really afraid of these medicines and need your suggestions if these are all necessary. This is late pregnancy for us, and it is worrying. We have anomaly scan in two weeks, and I am afraid that these medicines will affect the baby.



Welcome to

Nice to hear from you.

  • In pregnancy, progesterone hormone is produced in vast quantity. This is the same hormone produced in second half of periods after ovulation.
  • The main effect of this hormone increases the secretions and make it thicker. So, as long as the secretions are white without itching or foul smell, nothing to worry. These are just physiological reactions.
  • If your wife gets yellowish or greenish or very thick white, curd-like, itching or foul smell or brown stain on undergarment with fever and abdominal pain, then use only the vaginal capsule. The oral medications are not needed.
  • Those medicines are not harmful to the baby, but it is better to keep that tender life as far away from all the chemicals. Vaginal medicines will mainly act only on the vaginal infection if any.
  • Pregnancy is usually associated with yeast infection due to pH change, but this can be cleared with simple vaginal capsules that your doctor has given.
  • Do not get so stressed out with every point. These few months of pregnancy is to be enjoyed by the parents, as pregnancy is not a disease.
  • As she has reached 17 weeks, the biggest problem is solved. All the best. For further information consult back.

Hi doctor,

Thanks a lot doctor for your convincing reply. I would like to know a few more things. When would my wife experience fetal movement? Till now she did not experience fetal movement. She is a little fat, will that influence the feeling?



Welcome back to

  • Usually mother appreciates the fetal movement by 18 to 20 weeks, but this is subjective.
  • It can be later if she has too much abdominal wall fat or if the placenta seen on the scan is on anterior wall. It will be in between the baby and mother's skin. So, the movements will not be felt till the baby is bigger and its limb come in contact with the anterior wall of the uterus.
  • Also, if the mother is not concentrating on the movement. If it is her first pregnancy, then initially she will not be aware of the movement.
  • Usually after dinner, if she lies on her back with a small pillow at the back and keeps consciously watching for movement, she may feel it within 30 minutes to 1 hour. Usually, mothers appreciate it as a bubble popping or something knocking the stomach from behind.
  • It is a good experience. Do not worry if you do not appreciate it very early. It is not a problem of baby or mother. Over time she will get the movements. For further doubts consult back.

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