Screening is the process of identifying women and babies who may be at an increased risk of a disease or condition and may require further information, tests and treatment.

Screening is important as it can save lives or improve quality of life through early risk identification and/or reduce the risk of developing a serious condition or its complication.

What screening tests will I be offered in pregnancy?

During your pregnancy, you will be offered a range of screening tests, including blood tests and ultrasound baby scans. They are designed to help make your pregnancy safer, check and assess the development and wellbeing of you and your baby, and screen for particular conditions.

You do not have to take any of the tests. However, it is important to understand the purpose of all of them so that you can make an informed decision about whether to take them. Discuss this with your maternity team.

Prior to your booking in appointment you should access the digital information about the screening tests that are offered to you and your baby. This information can be found here. It is important to read the information and inform your midwife of any relevant conditions that you, your partner or your immediate families may have. The online information is available in English and nine other languages.

You can find out more about each of the different screening tests by clicking on the links below:

Blood tests

Screening for infectious diseases (hepatitis B, HIV, syphilis)
Screening for inherited conditions (sickle cell, thalassaemia and other haemoglobin disorders)

Ultrasound baby scans

It is recommended that all pregnant women in England are offered a minimum of two ultrasound scans during pregnancy. At the first antenatal appointment you will be offered an early pregnancy scan. This should take place after eight weeks and before 13+6 weeks of pregnancy. The purpose of the scan is to assess how many weeks pregnant you are, the number of babies you are having and check your baby’s wellbeing.

At 18+0 and 20+6 weeks pregnant you will be offered an anomaly scan. Its purpose is to look for any structural abnormalities (problems) your baby may have.

Dating scan 8-13+6 weeks pregnant

Anomaly scan 18-20-weeks pregnant

Contact us

Dawn Bolton, Screening Midwife Coordinator

Dawn Bolton (Screening Midwife Coordinator): 01274 364295

Screening for Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome

You will be offered screening for Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy. This is called the combined test because it combines an ultrasound scan with a blood test. The scan can be carried out at the same time as the dating scan. If you are too far on in your pregnancy (more than 14 weeks) to have the combined test, you will be offered a blood test between 14 and 20 weeks of pregnancy that screens for Down’s syndrome. This test is not quite as accurate as the combined test.

Following your test you will receive your results in one of two ways:

• If your result is lower chance >1:150 you will receive a letter in the post around two weeks after your screening test informing you of your results.
• If your result is higher chance <1:150 you will receive a call from our screening team to discuss your results and further options

Screening for Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndrome

Screening for your baby

Some screening tests will also be offered to your baby after they are born. You can read more about these tests by clicking on the links below:

Newborn physical examination
Newborn hearing screening
Newborn blood spot screening