Can I Get a DNA Test While Pregnant?

Woman getting swabbed for DNA test

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Getting pregnant can sometimes spark curiosity in new parents about their own origins. Now that you are creating a new life, you may have more interest in knowing where your ancestors are from. And although consumer level genetics tests do not provide information about your current pregnancy, they can provide some interesting historical data.

These DNA tests go back in time and provide you with detailed information about your ancestral past. DNA tests can also provide important health information, including whether you may be at risk for a variety of diseases or other maladies. But, if you want to know your child's genetic predispositions, they will need their own DNA testing.

You may wonder whether it is safe to get a DNA test while you are pregnant. If getting a DNA test sounds like something you want to do now that you are bringing a new life into the world, rest assured that it is completely fine to do with a baby on the way.

"We can test DNA of mom and dad for genetics through blood and through saliva, which is perfectly safe at any point in pregnancy," notes Betsy A.B. Greenleaf DO, FACOOG (Distinguished), FACOG, FAAOPM, FPMRS, MBA, host of "Some of Your Parts" and the "Body Mind Spirit Show" podcasts and co-author of "You Were Made To Be Unstoppable."

Getting a DNA Test During Pregnancy

Sometimes a healthcare provider will take a DNA test if there is a medical reason to do so. But if you are just curious about your DNA markings, you also can purchase a kit from a few different testing companies.

Usually, these kits come with easy-to-follow directions. With most kits, you spit a few times into a tube to provide enough saliva for a comprehensive DNA analysis. Then you seal up the tube and send it back. Soon after, your results will arrive.

DNA test results give you a huge breadth of information about yourself and your ancestral history. While you may have an idea which countries your ancestors hailed from, DNA testing also can let you know the specific regions within these countries where your ancestors lived.

You also can find out fun genetic information from DNA tests too, like why your third toe is longer than the rest or even if you like cilantro.

Some DNA test kits let you choose between a basic package and a package that includes health information. The former will tell you about your family history and fun genetics traits like whether your earlobes are free or attached. The latter gives you all that plus an analysis of your genetic predisposition for certain diseases, birth defects, or other health problems.

If you add the health component to your test, you can learn about how to prevent or reduce the chance of developing certain problems or illnesses. Remember though, this testing only provides you with information about your own genetic makeup and not your baby's. Even non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) will not provide genealogical data. To find out your baby's genetic information, they would need their own testing.

Keep in mind, too, your baby may not inherit all of your traits. Half of your baby's DNA comes from egg cells and the other half comes from sperm cells. Additionally, only some of these traits will be expressed in your child's DNA. So, while you may have attached earlobes, your baby may not.

Every pregnancy is different. Be sure to consult with a healthcare provider about your circumstances if you have any questions about DNA testing while pregnant.

Is it Safe for Baby?

Providing a blood or saliva sample will not affect your baby in any way. You should feel completely at ease getting a DNA test.

"A DNA test has no effect on a developing baby," explains Kim Langdon, MD, an Ohio-based OB/GYN with more than 20 years of experience. "It's just a cheek swab."

Benefits of Getting a DNA Test During Pregnancy

Getting a DNA test when you are pregnant may even benefit your child. But you do not necessarily have to do the test while pregnant to see these benefits. DNA tests give you more information about your roots but they can be completed at any time.

Overall, DNA tests help you learn about your genealogical history. Maybe you are half Jewish, or perhaps you have Aboriginal ancestry and you never knew it. This type of information may be interesting for your child to learn at some point.

People who know about their genealogical background may have a strong sense of personal identity and feel more connected to their communities. Or, they decide to develop family traditions based on their ancestral background. Both of those things are big gifts to give to a child.

Many test brands also tell you what your genes say about your health. Knowing about genetic conditions your baby may inherit can help you get early testing and treatment or take preventative measures.

For example, if your DNA indicates that you are at risk of macular degeneration, you can take steps to prevent it, such as wearing sunglasses while outside and eating plenty of foods rich in antioxidants. You can also share this health information with a healthcare provider to determine if further testing might be beneficial.

Safety Precautions

Your own DNA test will not necessarily tell you if your baby is at risk for certain health factors, but it helps you be aware of the possibilities. In the case of macular degeneration, precautions like using sun protection and eating healthy will have a positive effect regardless of whether your child is actually a carrier.

Always consult with a healthcare professional if you believe your child may be a carrier for a serious condition. They may wish to test your child's DNA or conduct other types of testing.

A Word From Verywell

Getting a DNA test is perfectly fine to do while pregnant. These tests are done through blood or saliva samples, so they do not affect an unborn baby in any way. DNA testing also may provide important health information that you can use to help your baby avoid or treat various maladies.

Overall, DNA tests provide interesting information about your genealogical background that you may want to share with your new child. Knowing about your roots can be special and helps build a sense of identity in your child.

Always consult a healthcare provider if your DNA test shows any markers for risks or if you have any concerns about your test results. You can learn a lot about your biological health history from a DNA test but only a doctor can tell you for sure whether you are at risk or what kinds of safety precautions you or your child should take.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Lima, Anna. Family history and genealogy: The benefits for the listener, the storyteller, and the communityJournal of Cape Verdean Studies, 4(1), 63-74.

  2. Khoo HE, Ng HS, Yap W-S, Goh HJH, Yim HS. Nutrients for prevention of macular degeneration and eye-related diseasesAntioxidants (Basel). 2019;8(4):85. doi:10.3390/antiox8040085

By Elisa Cinelli
Elisa is a well-known parenting writer who is passionate about providing research-based content to help parents make the best decisions for their families. She has written for well-known sites including POPSUGAR and Scary Mommy, among others.