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prenatal screening program

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Information for Individuals

During your pregnancy, your doctor’s office, clinic, or midwife will offer prenatal screening to check if fetus has an increased chance for specific birth defects. They will also offer counseling or follow up tests if needed. 

These services are available to you only if you want them. They are provided by the California Prenatal Screening (PNS) Program. They are paid for by Medi-Cal, health plans, and most private insurance. 

Prenatal screening won’t tell you if your fetus has a certain birth defect. It will only tell you if there is an increased chance of specific birth defects. It’s then up to you whether you want to have counseling or a follow up (diagnostic) test to confirm or rule out the birth defect.

Diagnostic tests will give you more definite information but carry a very slight chance of complications.

While it's your decision, you should always talk to your prenatal care provider or genetic counselor about the pros and cons of prenatal screening, counseling, and diagnostic testing.

PNS Program Changes

The PNS Program is changing later in 2022 to add a screening called cell-free (cfDNA) as one of its primary screenings. For more information on what prenatal care providers and program participants can expect, please see the PNS Program Changes web page.

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