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About Antenatal Screening

What is antenatal screening?

Women who are pregnant will be offered antenatal screening tests during their pregnancy to check their health and the health of their baby. A midwife will explain the different tests you can have as part of your routine antenatal care. Screening may involve ultrasound scans and blood tests. It is important to decide which tests, if any, are right for you.

Taking part in screening is your choice.

For more information or support, speak to your midwife or doctor.

This animation gives information on the screening tests you will be offered during pregnancy for you and your baby.

What antenatal screening tests are offered?

Tests will be offered at different stages during your pregnancy.

Antenatal screening includes:

  • Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome screening.
  • Blood tests look for:
    • Infections (HIV, hepatitis B, syphilis)
    • Blood disorders (sickle cell and thalassaemia)
    • Blood group and antibodies
  • Ultrasound scans look for:
    • Date of pregnancy and development of the baby.

Most women will not need further tests. However, if your screening test suggests you, or your baby have a higher chance of having a certain condition, further tests will be offered.

About the test

Visit your midwife early to help you make the best choices for your pregnancy.

  • Antenatal screening gives you important information about the health of you and your baby.
  • Make an appointment with a midwife as soon as you find out you are pregnant.
  • You will be given information to help you make a choice about taking part in antenatal screening.
  • The midwife will talk to you about the different tests you can have and answer your questions as part of your routine antenatal care.
  • Antenatal screening tests are not 100% accurate and some conditions may be missed.
  • You may be offered further tests or treatment after your antenatal screening.

Your results

Your midwife will tell you how and when you will get the result of your tests.

Your appointment

Your midwife will tell you where you can have the tests done.

Reasons to take part

During your pregnancy, you will be offered a number of different screening tests.  Screening is your choice. It can be difficult to decide what tests to have. Some women do not want to know if they have any health conditions that could affect them or their baby. Others want to know if they have any health conditions that could affect them or their baby so that they can make decisions on treatment or, if there are unexpected findings, to prepare for the birth or consider ending the pregnancy.

Take time to think before you decide. You can talk about the tests with your midwife and ask any questions you may have. When you have chosen which tests you want to have, the midwife will make arrangements for you.


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