To Test or Not to Test: Weighing Your Options For Prenatal Paternity Testing

//To Test or Not to Test: Weighing Your Options For Prenatal Paternity Testing
  • prenatal paternity testing

Have you recently found out that you’re expecting?

Discovering that you’re pregnant can entail a whirlwind of emotions and choices. There may be all sorts of questions running through your mind, such as:

What are some of the symptoms of early pregnancy that I can expect? Which doctor should I see and what changes should I make to my lifestyle? When should I announce my pregnancy?

You may even be wondering about prenatal paternity testing. tO

Despite the stigmas attached to paternity testing, it’s quite common. It’s also nothing to feel ashamed of. In fact, 40% of pregnancies in the US are out of wedlock.

No matter where you are in your pregnancy, you can discover so much about your baby – beyond paternity. Read on to learn more!

Early Paternity Testing

DNA profiling and pregnancy paternity tests are as advanced as ever before. Women can undergo prenatal paternity testing as early as 10 weeks. During this period, your baby’s brain has formed and its heart has even begun beating!

Yet, paternity tests within the first trimester are invasive. These types of invasive tests can pose a risk for miscarriage. This is why postnatal paternity testing is widely recommended most.

Still, mothers can undergo invasive prenatal paternity examination early on without complications. Here’s a breakdown of the two types of invasive prenatal paternity tests.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

Between the 10th and 13th weeks, it is possible to have paternity testing done through a CVS. Under some circumstances, doctors can administer it as early as 8 weeks.

During a CVS procedure, doctors place a thin plastic tube in the vagina up through the cervix. Using ultrasound, they collect placental tissue. These tissue strands are otherwise known as chorionic villi.

The sample of chorionic villi contains the baby’s DNA. It can reveal more about your baby beyond paternity.

Many women with family histories of genetic abnormalities will undergo CVS. It can detect certain genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome and cystic fibrosis. Some pregnant women over the age of 35 will undergo chorionic villus sampling.

How long does a CVS procedure last and is it uncomfortable?

There is mild to moderate discomfort during a chorionic villus sampling. The CVS procedure itself usually lasts up to 10 minutes. Results are accurate and you can usually receive yours within a week or so.

CVS does carry a slight risk for miscarriage. If you wish to undergo a CVS procedure, you’ll need consent from your doctor. It’s not uncommon for some doctors to refuse to perform it for the sole purpose of paternity testing.


Are you in your second trimester? Are you interested in learning more about a pregnancy DNA test you can undergo this far along?

By the second trimester, your baby is not only growing. It’s surrounded by more amniotic fluid than in the first trimester. An amniocentesis procedure examines the amniotic fluid which surrounds your baby.

What occurs during an amniocentesis?

During this procedure, a needle extracts amniotic fluid from the amniotic sac. Doctors are able to locate the position of the fetus using an ultrasound. They insert the needle through the mother’s abdomen away from the fetus.

What can you expect during an amniocentesis? First, your doctor will cleanse your abdomen and possibly administer an anesthetic. This is to relieve any discomfort and pain you may experience during the procedure.

The procedure lasts up to 45 minutes and you can expect results within a couple of weeks. Moderate cramping is not uncommon after an amniocentesis. It’s best to rest for the remainder of the day of the procedure.

Like a CVS procedure, an amniocentesis does carry a slight risk for miscarriage. It can detect certain genetic disorders and potential birth defects. You will need consent from your doctor in the case of paternity testing.

Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Testing

Though rare, invasive prenatal testing can cause miscarriage. But further along in pregnancy, non-invasive prenatal DNA testing is an option. It’s also highly recommended compared to amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling.

It’s possible to undergo non-invasive prenatal testing as early as 8 weeks. Women have a variety of reasons and concerns regarding this type of testing. This great post provides a breakdown of the reasons why some women choose this type of testing.

How does non-invasive prenatal paternity testing work?

Rather than look to the baby, this testing examines the mother’s blood. That’s because a baby’s DNA becomes part of the mother’s blood by the 7th week of pregnancy. It’s possible to collect this DNA without needles, ultrasounds, or doctors.

Some of these tests collect samples using a cheek-swab or a blood sample from the mother. Other tests may require a blood sample from any potential fathers. Non-invasive prenatal testing poses no risk to the baby or mother.

Making Way for Baby

All expecting mothers experience the universal joys of pregnancy. There’s the phenomenon of a growing belly or the thrill of feeling your baby flutter and kick for the first time.

But every pregnancy is a journey – and yours is entirely unique and special all in its own.

If prenatal paternity testing is part of yours, understand your options. Some forms of testing may suit you better than others, so it’s important to talk to your doctor. That way, you can make the best decision regarding paternity testing going forward.

There’s plenty else to consider as you make way for baby. Between prenatal vitamins, pregnancy exercise, and maternity clothes, there’s lots to prepare. These next 9 months will be busy, so know what to do when you’re expecting and stay ahead of the baby bump!

By | 2021-02-23T19:06:04+02:00 April 1st, 2019|Parenting|

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