Genetics Northern California

California Prenatal Screening Program

The California Prenatal Screening Program helps identify women who are more likely to be carrying a fetus with certain birth defects. The screening tests included the program estimate the risk for Down syndrome, trisomy 18, open neural tube defects, abdominal wall defects, and Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome.  Screening is offered to all pregnant women in California, but the decision about whether or not to have a screening test, or which test to choose, is up to you.

Screening can be done in three slightly different ways, but the tests are all looking for the same group of birth defects. The main difference among the tests is the specific information used to help define a woman's risk.The testing options offered through the California Prenatal Screening Program include:

SEQUENTIAL INTEGRATED SCREENING
  • Two blood tests:  One in the first trimester (10 to 13 weeks) and one in the second trimester (15 to 20 weeks)
  • Nuchal translucency (NT) ultrasound: Done between 11 weeks 2 days and 14 weeks 2 days.

Sequential integrated screening is available to women who start prenatal care before the 14th week of pregnancy. Because this screening includes the NT ultrasound, you can get a preliminary result early in pregnancy. Final results are available soon after the second blood test. Click here for more details about sequential integrated screening.

SERUM INTEGRATED SCREENING
  • Two blood tests: One in the first trimester (10 to 13 weeks) and one in the second trimester (15 to 20 weeks)

Serum integrated screening is available to women who start prenatal care before the 14th week in pregnancy. Both blood tests can be done at your local Kaiser Permanente laboratory. Results are available soon after the second blood test. Click here for more information about serum integrated screening.

QUAD MARKER SCREENING
  • One blood test: The blood test is done between 15 weeks and 20 weeks.

Quad screening is offered to women who start prenatal care after 14 weeks and to women who start prenatal screening with NIPT.  Results are available one to two weeks after the blood draw. Click here for more information about Quad screening.


You can learn more about the California Prenatal Screening Program on their website:  Prenatal Screening Program

Last reviewed: December 1, 2017
Reviewed by: Kimberly Barr, MS, LCGC