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Talking to Your Doctor about Prenatal Testing

En Español (Spanish Version)

Main Page | Reasons for the Tests | Types of Tests | Talking to Your Doctor | Resource Guide

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with prenatal testing. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you will take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask to have information written down or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Prenatal Testing

  • Based on my age, family history and medical history, which prenatal tests are right for me?
  • What do the different tests measure?
  • How reliable are the different tests?
  • What are my options if a test indicates there is a problem?

About Each Test

  • How accurate is the test?
  • How long before I get the results?
  • What do you hope to learn from this test?
  • Is the procedure painful?
  • Is the procedure dangerous to me or the fetus?
  • What are the risks?
  • Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
  • What will happen if I do not do this test?
  • How much will the test cost?
  • Is the test covered by insurance?
  • What do I need to do to prepare for the test?
  • What are my options if the test indicates there is a problem?
  • Do you recommend that I have this test?


  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Invasive prenatal testing for aneuploidy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Practice Bulletin No. 88. December 2007.
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Screening for fetal chromosomal abnormalities. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Practice Bulletin No. 77. January 2007.
  • Prenatal tests. Nemours Foundation. KidsHealth website. Available at: Updated January 2012. Accessed April 24, 2013.
  • Screening and monitoring during pregnancy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated March 12, 2013. Accessed April 24, 2013.
  • Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: Updated November 2010. Accessed April 24, 2013.
  • Questions to ask your care provider. Childbirth website. Available at: Accessed April 24, 2013.

Contact Information

Kidney Tumor Program
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Ave. 
Boston, MA 02215

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