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It sometimes happens that there are doubts whether your child is completely free of genetic defects. Various examinations and tests have been established for this purpose, including the placenta test. This involves using a needle to take some tissue from the placenta - also known as villi - which they will then examine further for Down's, Edwards' or Pat's syndrome. In this blog we'll tell you all about the chorionic villus test, how the villi are taken and the possible risks. 

What is the chorionic villus test?

The chorionic villus test reveals whether the unborn child has a genetic defect, such as Down's, Edwards' or Patau's syndrome. From the eleventh week of pregnancy, the chorionic villus test can be performed and is often the follow-up examination of the NIPT. The gynecologist then removes some tissue from the placenta from the uterus. The tissue has a flocculent nature, which is why it is called a flaccid test. The test takes only ten minutes and does not require anesthesia, but you must have a full bladder. The procedure is not perceived as painful by women (Rabboudumc, s.d.). 

How is a chorionic villus test performed?

The tissue from the placenta is removed with a needle through the abdominal wall or through the vagina. The gynecologist determines which way to remove the tissue, this has to do with the position of the placenta and the position of the uterus (Rabboudumc, s.d.). The placenta contains the cells that often completely match those of the baby. The laboratory examines the villi to find or exclude an abnormality (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, s.d.). 

  • Through the abdominal wall - With the ultrasound machine, the doctor determines where to insert the needle. The needle then goes through the abdominal skin and abdominal wall into the placenta. To loosen the tissue, the doctor has to move the needle back and forth a bit, where it then sucks up the flakes. You can compare the feeling to menstrual cramps. 
  • Through the vagina - the doctor will insert forceps through a duck's mouth through the cervix to the placenta. This forceps removes the villi. In many cases, this method is considered not painful. 

(Rabboudumc, s.d.)

The results

The result is often known within two weeks. Are the results good? Open a bottle of (non-alcoholic) bubbles and celebrate and above all enjoy the pregnancy. Is the result not good? Then together with the midwife you will decide how to proceed. You may be faced with the difficult choice of whether or not to terminate the pregnancy. Is there no answer to the chorionic villus test? Then it may be that not enough villi were taken and often a new test is needed. amniocentesis recommended (The Midwife, s.d.). 

Risks

Performing the chorionic villus test carries unpleasant risks. The risk of miscarriage is increased by 0.5% (The Obstetrician, s.d.). 

We hope, of course, that this examination is not necessary and, if it is, that the results are positive! Being pregnant is a miracle, but sometimes some less pleasant things come your way. But try to remain postive and take good care of yourself, that is - even if you are not pregnant - of great importance.

Sources:

The Midwife. (s.d.). Chorionic villus testing. Accessed November 30, 2021, from https://deverloskundige.nl/zwangerschap/subtekstpagina/42/vlokkentest

Rabboudumc. (s.d.). About the chorionic villus test. Radboudumc. Accessed November 30, 2021, from https://www.radboudumc.nl/patientenzorg/onderzoeken/vlokkentest/de-vlokkentest

National Institute of Public Health and the Environment. (s.d.). Chorionic villus testing. Prenatal and neonatal screenings. Accessed November 30, 2021, from https://www.pns.nl/nipt/vervolgonderzoek/vlokkentest