The Iowa Maternal Prenatal Screening Program offers several screening tests that provide patients and healthcare providers with information about pregnancy and the developing fetus. These screening tests are available to all Iowa women during pregnancy and are designed to identify women with an increased risk of having a baby with Down syndrome, Trisomy 18 or an open neural tube defect. They may also identify women with an increased risk of having a baby with other kinds of birth defects or women at risk of developing a problem later in pregnancy.
For most women the results of maternal screening will be screen-negative, which indicates that the risk of a fetal abnormality is low. For those women whose result is screen-positive, this does not automatically mean that a problem exists, but rather that there is an increased risk for either a birth defect or a chromosome abnormality. Further testing, such as detailed ultrasound and/or amniocentesis, is required.
- Sandra Daack-Hirsch, Ph.D., was inducted as the Hygienic Laboratory's Environmental and Public Health Ambassador. The associate professor in the University of Iowa College of Nursing chose to raise awareness of maternal prenatal screening as the focus for her ambassadorship.
- Daack-Hirsch also started a research project to determine the causes of and address the declining participation in the Iowa program. Press coverage of Daack-Hirsch's project and ambassadorship generated positive feedback from women around the state who said that the stories helped them to better understand the benefits of maternal screening.