First Trimester Prenatal Screening and Natera

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Baby, who? Can I see some ID?

My pregnancy up until week 9 was surreal to me. I felt joy about being pregnant but was hesitant to embrace it completely. It really bothered me that I felt this way during that time. And, like any good thinker, I pondered it and pondered it.  Why wasn’t I jumping up and down and screaming “I’m pregnant” at the top of my lungs?

I had my first prenatal visit at week 7 because my future OB was all booked for my week 8 and due to my age, everyone thought it best for me to come in sooner than later. From the very beginning, OB told me that no matter what, at some point, he would recommend that I meet with the genetic counselor. He gave me a high level overview of the tests that I’d be undergoing during my pregnancy and that was that. I left that appointment giving some blood to confirm my pregnancy.

A couple of weeks later, I went in for my first ultrasound appointment. Hubby came with me, and we both squealed at the first sight of Gracie on the screen. She started to be real to us at that moment. At the end of the appointment, the tech said I’d be taking a test [Natera Panorama Prenatal Screen] and that it was a comprehensive screening of the baby. It was a bit startling to hear that should my insurance not cover the test, I should call a rep from the testing company, pay the $45 fee and be done with the much larger bill. Huh? Yeh, my reaction too.

I was assured by the tech that because I was considered high risk, my insurance would most likely cover it, because anyone over 35 takes this test. Frankly, I didn’t know what to make of this. I didn’t remember OB telling me about this screening specifically but he did tell me about a lot of tests that would be coming my way, so it is possible that I just missed a beat when he told me about it.

So they drew two (or was it three?) viles of blood – told me that I’d get the results in two weeks and that I could learn my baby’s sex too, if I so desired. Of course, we so desired so off we went and waited for the two weeks to pass. Meanwhile, I had another appointment lined up with my OB and I took my First Trimester Screen a couple of weeks later. This test was a prick of the finger, I swear – though everything I’ve read since then says they draw blood for this test. So, I had my Panorama (NITP) before I had my First Trimester Screen, which was opposite of everything I had read online about timing of tests. Age, I suppose.

Two weeks passed and I was assured that there was nothing to be alarmed about and that OB recommends that I come in to meet with a genetic counselor. At that meeting, she would also go over the screening results. For a couple of weeks, we rampantly researched Natera to prepare ourselves for what we might be told. The truth is, you can’t prepare. You just have to go to the appointment. My saving grace was thinking if it is bad, they would have insisted we come immediately, right?

Our genetic counselor went over my results, mapped out our family histories and asked if we’d be interested in getting an amniocentesis. We walked away with these documents (which I’ve cropped) and I have to say, even after this meeting, we spent hours doing more research, looking over these documents and asking one another should we do the amniocentesis?

Natera Panorama Prenatal Screen Results

This is a cropped pic of my screening results with the norm based on my age group.

First Trimester Screen Results

And here are results of my First Trimester Screening, which was completed after my Natera Screen. Again, my norm was based on my age group.


Ultimately, we choose not to have the amniocentesis, which is a very personal decision to make. We looked at our test results and the information we’ve been getting from our OB and ultrasound team and made the decision that was right for us. While there’s still a small chance that there may be a defect, it’s a small chance. I mean, as L said to me when I had a momentary breakdown wondering if Gracie is okay, he said this, “Look at this statistically. Statistically, the odds are in our favor. The most probable thing that will happen? Everything is okay. That’s the most likely scenario.”

I had wondered if anyone would be interested in seeing our screen results; in fact, L thought it was a little odd for me to post them. The truth is, when I was roaming the web, the best I could find was Natera’s website. That was it! I couldn’t find any bloggers talking about it, nor could I find any sample reports and you know what? It maddened me. How was it possible that nobody had shared their Natera experience?

Had I seen a little post about what to expect, it would have made me feel a little better. Really. As a first timer, this is all a bit baffling to me so any information is always good for me.

Now that you’ve read this, want to share you experience? Post it in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it.