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Can Muscular Dystrophy Be Detected During Pregnancy?

Can Muscular Dystrophy Be Detected During Pregnancy?

Today, most of the doctors adopt genetic testing method for prospective parents with a family history of muscular dystrophy i.e. muscular dystrophy and are worrying about passing the same condition on to their newborn babies.

Can Muscular Dystrophy Be Detected During Pregnancy?

Overview of Genetic Testing

Genetic testing involves analysis of cells in the sample of saliva, tissue or blood to check specific DNA or genetic mutations associated mainly with muscular dystrophy condition.

Key Aspects of Genetic Testing

Identification of Carriers

A few types of muscular dystrophy carry out without showing any clear symptom of the specific condition. This is applicable in case of sex related conditions; recessive yet inherited disorders and few of the dominant conditions. In this case, genetic test determines whether any or both of the parents are responsible to carry the disorder. For this, doctors collect DNA from tissue, saliva or blood cells of both parents and compare it with a sample collected from any family member suffering from the same condition.

In case your partner or you detected as muscular dystrophy carrier and at the risk related to passing the same condition to your baby, your genetic counselor and doctor will discuss the available options.

Prenatal Diagnosis

Genetic testing is useful to perform prenatal diagnosis. Accordingly, baby in the mother’s womb undergoes with diagnosis with muscular dystrophy before its birth based on tests carried out at the time of pregnancy.1 Doctors mainly recommend genetic testing of your baby in the womb in case there is a possibility that your upcoming baby has muscular dystrophy problems.

Methods of Prenatal Diagnosis

Doctors perform genetic testing in case of prenatal diagnosis based on two major ways as-

Chorionic Villus Sampling

In this type of sampling technique, pathologists or doctors remove tissues from the conceiving woman’s placenta to perform analysis often after 11 weeks of her pregnancy period.


Alternatively, pathologists go with the method of amniocentesis carried after 15 weeks of pregnancy period. In this case, doctors insert a needle into the abdomen to collect amniotic fluid sample surrounding the fetus within the womb. Amniotic fluid incorporates cells shed by the prenatal baby or fetus. Later on, experts test the collected cells to determine any genetic mutation associated with muscular dystrophy problem. In case it takes place, baby has a probability to develop muscular dystrophy at some stage of its life post birth. Hence, genetic counselors will discuss the available options and may even suggest for termination of your pregnancy.

Non-Invasive Prenatal Diagnosis

With the advancement of technology, pathologists have come up with many new tests to perform genetic testing associated with prenatal diagnosis.2 Accordingly, they have developed non-invasive prenatal diagnosis abbreviated as NIPD. In this test, pathologists collect a blood sample from the pregnant women and testing its free fetal DNA.

Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis

Couples remain at huge risk related to their child may affect by muscular dystrophy, pathologists recommend for another alternative diagnosis option i.e. in vitro fertilization abbreviated as IVF. Known as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, the test involves detection of early embryos to identify muscular dystrophy condition. The test allows transfer of only unaffected embryos within the woman.


In conclusion, we should say that yes, doctors may detect the condition of muscular dystrophy in the upcoming baby during the woman’s pregnancy period.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 25, 2019

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