Can paternity be discovered during pregnancy?

The question: I’m not sure who my baby’s father is. Can we find out during pregnancy?

David Barrere, MD, FACOG, answers: Paternity testing can be accomplished safely after delivery by obtaining blood from the baby and the prospective fathers and making a comparison analysis (blood type, DNA). This is the safest and, overall, the best option.

During pregnancy, such testing is not advised, because obtaining blood from the baby is quite dangerous. For example, a procedure called PUBS (percutaneous umbilical blood sampling) can be used to obtain blood from the baby; however, umbilical cord laceration (cuts) and exsanguinations (bleeding) are potential risks. This procedure is reserved for identifying anemic babies who require blood transfusions while still within the uterus.


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