Perinatal Testing Centers

Counseling and testing to help your baby have the healthiest start in life

The Perinatal Testing Centers of Main Line Health provide pregnancy testing to both low- and high-risk pregnant patients. Our family-centered approach to maternity is exhibited in the testing units through the expert perinatal staff who are available to help you and your family obtain accurate information about your developing baby (babies) and allow you to get the finest care possible—from conception, all the way through delivery.

Services provided at our perinatal testing centers

Early anatomy

As part of either the sequential screen or NIPT (see below) early anatomy has become a way for patients to gain early reassurance about the development of their baby late in the first or early in the second trimester of pregnancy.

Perinatal and genetic consultation

Patients receive an evaluation by a perinatologist (a maternal-fetal medicine specialist), who assesses risk in pregnancy and helps you plan for a current or future pregnancy.


Ultrasound is a noninvasive test that uses sound waves to visualize the fetus in-utero. This simple procedure can be used to help confirm gestational age, monitor growth, identify congenital abnormalities and evaluate the well-being of the fetus.


Amniocentesis is used to obtain amniotic fluid for genetic evaluation and information about fetal development.

Chorionic villus sampling - CVS

CVS is performed early in a pregnancy by sampling tissue from what will become the placenta. This tissue is evaluated for possible genetic or chromosomal abnormalities and can provide reassurance to parents.

Doppler flow studies

A Doppler flow study uses ultrasound to evaluate the blood flow to the placenta from the fetus and the mother. This is usually done in conjunction with a complete ultrasound study of the fetus.


An alternative test to sequential screening, this is a blood test that looks for chromosomes from the placenta in maternal blood to gain chromosome reassurance.

Sequential screening

Sequential screening utilizes both ultrasound findings and maternal hormone levels to determine if a woman is at increased risk for having a baby with Down syndrome (trisomy 21) or trisomy 18.

Tests for fetal well-being

Non-stress testing evaluates how well the placenta is providing oxygen to the fetus as well as risk of stillbirth. The information obtained helps determine or predict the well-being of the fetus. A biophysical profile is an ultrasonic test of well-being that may be done in conjunction or as an alternative to a non-stress test.

Frequently asked questions

What do I need to do to make an appointment?

You will need to know which test you need, why the doctor has requested it, and how many weeks pregnant you are.

Most of our doctors use an order form from the Perinatal Testing Center. This form will need to have the type of test checked off on the front and the diagnosis code checked off on the back, as well as the doctor's signature. If the doctor's office does not have these forms, a regular prescription will do as long as it contains the same information.

Once you have that information, call our central scheduling desk and inform our scheduler which Main Line Health hospital you are interested in. After you have made your appointment, contact your doctor's office and let them know the date and have them activate your referrals if needed.

What do I need to bring to my appointment?

You will need to bring the order form (or regular prescription), your insurance card and a photo ID. If your insurance plan requires a referral, you need to bring your referral, too, and present it prior to the test.

If you are having a test done, you will need to supply documentation confirming your blood type. Your doctor's office should have a copy if you have had your obstetric panel drawn.

If you are coming in for a consultation, a copy of your prenatal records and all testing results must be supplied for the perinatologist to review prior to the day of your appointment.

Can I bring children with me for my ultrasound or testing?

Per our visitation policy, one (1) adult visitor or support person is permitted to accompany patient for ultrasound appointments only. No children are permitted.

Can I use my cell phone while in the Perinatal Testing Center?

We ask for all cell phones to be turned off during all procedures or scanning in the Perinatal Testing Center.

May I videotape my ultrasound?

Although this is a happy and exciting time for expectant parents, this is still a medical process and we do not allow photographing or videotaping. Our technicians and doctors have to be able to concentrate to complete this comprehensive evaluation of your baby.

How do I get the 3D/4D ultrasound?

The 3D/4D ultrasound is used at the discretion of the doctor when it is medically necessary.

Who performs the ultrasound?

The ultrasound is performed by a specially trained perinatal sonographer and the perinatologist.

How do I prepare for an ultrasound?

If you are less than 15 weeks pregnant, you will need to drink 16 ounces of water within an hour of your appointment. For example, if your appointment is at 10:00 am, start drinking at 9:00 am Otherwise, no special preparation is required; you may eat and drink normally prior to the test.

Does the doctor run on time?

Every effort is made to ensure that our perinatologists stay on schedule. Please remember that the nature of medicine assumes that certain unexpected and emergent situations will arise throughout the day. Due to the nature of high-risk and emergent-care situations, more time with the perinatologist may be necessary. In order to maintain the doctors’ schedules, we require that patients keep to their scheduled time. If a patient arrives more than 15 minutes after their scheduled appointment time, we will offer two options: You may reschedule the appointment for another day, or you may wait until the first available opening that day.

Please remember to allow enough time for traffic and parking.

How do I prepare for a first-trimester/sequential screening/NIPT?

The only preparation needed for the first-trimester/sequential screening/NIPT is to drink 16 ounces of water within the hour prior to your appointment.

How do I prepare for a CVS?

For a chorionic villus sampling (CVS) we must have a hard copy of your current blood type in our file prior to the procedure. Ask your doctor's office to fax it to us. In addition, you will need to drink 16 ounces of water with in the hour prior to your appointment.

How do I prepare for an amniocentesis?

For an amniocentesis we must have a hard copy of your current blood type in our file prior to the procedure. Ask your doctor's office to fax it to us.

How do I prepare for a non-stress test?

The non-stress test is used to check the well-being of the baby. No special preparation is needed, but try to eat before coming for your appointment.

How do I prepare for genetic counseling?

If you have a specific genetic issue or a significant family history with either parent, or you have a history of a disorder from previous pregnancies, please bring all your records with you, or ask your doctor's office to fax it to us. The more information the counselor has at the time of your appointment, the more comprehensive the session will be. Please remember that if your insurance plan requires referrals, you will need to bring a referral for the genetic counseling conference.

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