In recent years, at-home DNA tests have become increasingly popular. They are relatively affordable and easy to use, and they can provide a wealth of information about your ancestry and health. But what if you're pregnant? Can you get a DNA test while pregnant? The short answer is yes, you can. There are a few different ways to collect DNA samples, and none of them are harmful to you or your baby.
Getting a DNA Test While Pregnant
In most cases, DNA testing during pregnancy is done for a medical reason - diagnosing a condition or confirming an ultrasound finding.
However, if you are keen to know about your ancestry or simply curious about your DNA markers, at-home DNA kits are a popular option.
The DNA collection kits come with instructions that are pretty easy to follow.
Most companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA require your saliva sample for testing.
This just involves spitting into a tube a few times, sealing it, and sending it back.
Once the lab receives your sample, they extract your DNA information from it and generate reports.
DNA test results provide a wealth of information ranging from your ancestral and ethnicity details to risk for various health conditions.
They can pinpoint specific regions your ancestors lived in.
Other fun-to-learn information, like why you dislike cilantro or why you are a tea/coffee person, can also be understood through genetic tests.
You can also learn about your health risks -
- What are the chances of you developing a condition like hypertension?
- How can you reduce your risk for certain health conditions?
- What’s your carrier status of hereditary conditions?
Many companies let you choose between basic and comprehensive packages - the former includes fun information like ancestry and ethnicity and genetic traits like flat feet.
You can get everything in the basic package and the aforementioned health information with the latter.
However, knowing that your baby may not have all the traits highlighted in your genetic test results is important.
The baby’s DNA is half that of the biological mother and half that of the biological father.
Furthermore, only some of the traits may be expressed in your baby’s DNA.
For example, while you may have flat feet, your baby may not.
Disclaimer: Each pregnancy is unique. It is important to consult your medical practitioner if you have any questions about taking a DNA test during pregnancy.
Is Taking A DNA Test While Pregnant Safe For The Baby?
Yes, it is generally safe to take a DNA test while pregnant.
Pregnancy can make you apprehensive about doing things to your body.
But non-invasive testing, like providing a blood or saliva sample or cheek swab, doesn’t affect your baby in any way.
Did You Know That You Can Use Your 23andMe Data To Learn 1000+ Things About Your Health and Wellness?
Benefits of Getting a DNA Test While Pregnant
DNA tests can provide insights into your ancestral history.
Learning about this can give you or your child a sense of personal identity and allow you to connect with your communities.
Learning about your health risk can help with early testing and preventive measures.
For example, if you learn that you are at risk for osteoporosis, taking preventive actions like eating food rich in vitamin D and calcium and regular exercise can help you escape the condition.
Your own DNA test may not necessarily tell you if your baby is at risk for certain health factors, but it helps you be aware of the possibilities.
For example, even if your child doesn’t have a risk for osteoporosis, following preventive measures such as the ones mentioned above will benefit their health no matter what.
Disclaimer: At-home DNA genetic tests aren’t for diagnostic use. Always consult a qualified medical practitioner if you believe your child may be at risk of serious health conditions. They may wish to opt for other types of genetic testing.
While you can learn a lot about your health through these tests, only a doctor can interpret your genetic risks and advise you on safety precautions for yourself and your child.
What About Paternity Tests While Pregnant?
Dealing with questions of paternity while pregnant can be extremely stressful.
Recent advancements in technology allow us to find a child’s biological father with the highest accuracy before even the child is born.
This type of test done during pregnancy is called a prenatal DNA test.
Prenatal DNA testing makes it possible to confirm paternity using a DNA profile as early as 7 weeks into the pregnancy.
For prenatal testing or paternity testing while pregnant, there are a few options available:
- Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity (NIPP) Test: The NIPP test is the most accurate non-invasive way to determine whether the unborn baby's DNA matches the biological father's DNA. This test is done with blood drawn from the mother and the alleged father and can be performed any time after the 8th week of pregnancy. The fetal DNA is extracted from the blood of the mother.
- Amniocentesis: This test is performed during the 14th to 20th weeks of pregnancy. This test is done with the amniotic fluid, the liquid around the fetus. Risks include a small chance of harming the baby and miscarriage.
- Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS): Chorionic villi are small finger-like tissues forming a big part of the placenta. A small sample of this tissue is taken during the 10th to 13th week of pregnancy.
The American Pregnancy Association recommends using the non-invasive prenatal paternity test or waiting until after birth to test for paternity.
Where Can You Get a DNA Test While Pregnant?
The easiest way to get a DNA test done during pregnancy is to order it on the internet.
You can either order a DNA kit or choose a service to use your existing DNA data.
The Drug Store
Many local drug stores sell DNA kits from popular genetic testing companies.
Certain drug stores may also sell paternity tests, but the validity and accuracy of these tests may not be up to standard.
The Obstetrician's Office
The best way to get a NIPP, amnio, or CVS would be through your medical practitioner.
Getting a non-invasive DNA test while pregnant is perfectly fine and safe for the baby.
Providing salivary or blood samples shouldn’t affect your or the baby’s health in any way.
DNA tests can provide some interesting insights into your genealogical background that you may wish to share with your child.
Further, it can also provide important information about your health risks, some of which may also impact your child.
It is important to discuss any concerning test results with your doctor.