Our Services : Prenatal Diagnosis Center

Prenatal Diagnosis Center

The Prenatal Diagnosis Center is a full-service diagnostic center jointly operated by Meriter Hospital and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health. The center is accredited by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM).

The Diagnosis Center Provides:

  • Genetic Counseling – Patients may meet with a prenatal genetic counselor to discuss testing options available during pregnancy, review test results or medical and family histories
  • First Trimester Screen – This is a noninvasive screening test that estimates the chances that a woman may have a baby with Down syndrome, trisomy 13 or trisomy 18. The test is usually done between 11 4/7 and 13 6/7 weeks gestation. This screen involves a special ultrasound of the baby and a maternal blood test.
  • Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) – this is a diagnostic prenatal test that examines placental tissue to determine if a baby has a chromosomal abnormality. The test is usually done between 11 4/7 and 13 6/7 weeks gestation.
  • Amniocentesis – This is a diagnostic prenatal test that examines cells found in the amniotic fluid to determine if a baby has a chromosomal abnormality. The test is typically done after the 16th week of pregnancy.
  • Targeted Ultrasound – This ultrasound is offered around 20th week of pregnancy and is used to screen for fetal structural, genetic and growth abnormalities. The sonographer and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist use the ultrasound to look at the placenta and amniotic fluid along with the fetal heart, brain, spine, kidneys, abdomen, extremities and facial features. Although reassuring, a normal ultrasound does not eliminate the possibility of a health problem for a baby.
  • Fetal Echocardiogram – This ultrasound is offered to women with a higher chance of having a baby with a heart defect. It is typically done after the 20th week of pregnancy. A pediatric cardiologist who is trained in prenatal ultrasound reviews the ultrasound images of the fetal heart and the woman is informed of the results the same day.
  • Non-Stress Tests (NST) – Non-stress testing involves monitoring an unborn baby's heart rate over time. The test takes 20-60 minutes.
  • Amniotic Fluid Volume Index (AFI) – This is a measurement of the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby, done with the assistance of ultrasound.
  • Biophysical Profiles – This is a combination of data from fetal heart rate monitoring and ultrasound imaging. The profile includes the Non-Stress Test, ultrasound measurement of the amniotic fluid volume, and observation of fetal breathing movements, body movements and tone.
  • Free-fetal DNA testing – This is a blood test that can be done after 10 weeks of pregnancy. A woman’s blood contains some DNA, or genetic material, from the baby. This test measures how much of the baby’s DNA is in the blood to determine if the baby might have Down syndrome, trisomy 13, or trisomy 18.  It can only be done when there is a risk factor for Down syndrome, trisomy 13 or trisomy 18 in the pregnancy. Therefore, this test is an option if a woman will be 35 years old or over at the time of the baby’s birth, if there is an increased risk on the first trimester screen or quad screen, if ultrasound shows signs of one of these three conditions, or if there is a family history of one of these three conditions. It is about 99% accurate, so if the test is abnormal, it is very likely, but not certain, that the baby has the condition. Further testing can be done to determine with even more certainty if the baby has the condition or not. Not all insurance covers the cost of this test, so in many cases, there is an out-of-pocket cost.


If you have questions about any of these services, please feel free to contact The Center for Perinatal Care at (608) 417-6667.