Routine Screening Tests & Scans
What screening tests can I expect?
A number of screening tests are offered to women during pregnancy:
- Infectious diseases (HIV, Hepatitis B & Syphilis)
- Sickle Cell & Thalassaemia
- Down’s, Edwards’ & Patau’s syndromes
- Anomaly scan, for more information view Antenatal Appointments & Care section.
All women are provided with information relating to the screening tests offered and you will have the opportunity to discuss your screening choices with your midwife during your antenatal booking appointment. You can choose to accept or decline screening tests in pregnancy.
Infectious Diseases Screening
These tests are recommended as early treatment and care can protect your health and reduce any chance of passing the infection onto your baby, partner or other family members.
Sickle Cell &Thalassaemia
Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia (SC&T) are serious blood conditions that can affect the way oxygen is carried around the body. They are inherited conditions that are passed on in families like hair or skin colour. You will be offered the opportunity to have a blood test to see if you are a carrier of the sickle cell or thalassaemia gene and therefore likely to pass it on to your baby. If you are found to be a carrier your baby’s father may need to be tested.
First Trimester Combined Screening (FTCS)
This combined screening test is offered to all pregnant women to assess the chance of their baby being born with:
- Down’s syndrome (Trisomy 21)
- Edwards’ syndrome (Trisomy 18)
- Patau’s syndrome (Trisomy 13)
This screening test can only be undertaken between 11 weeks and two days (11+2) and 14 weeks and one day (14+1) of gestation.
Women can choose:
- Not to have screening
- To have screening for Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndrome
- To have screening for Down’s syndrome only
- To have screening for Edwards’ & Patau’s syndrome only
This screening test includes a blood test and an ultrasound scan. At the ultrasound scan your pregnancy will be dated by measuring the length of your baby and also measuring the fluid on the back of your baby’s neck.
Occasionally, the FTCS test may not be able to be performed. If this is the case the healthcare professional undertaking the scan will inform you of the reason(s) for this and you will be offered a Quadruple test in the second trimester for Down’s syndrome screening with your community midwife.
The Quadruple test does not screen for Edwards & Patau’s syndrome. Screening for Edwards’ & Patau’s syndrome in the second trimester is the 18-20+6 week anomaly scan.
FTCS & Quadruple Test Results
If you choose to have this screening test the result is given as a risk figure, for example, one in 50, one in 500, one in 50,000 and so forth.
If your result is one in 151 or greater in number (low chance result) you will receive the result in the post within 14 calendar days of the screening test.
If your result is between one in two and one in 150 (high chance result) a specialist midwife will contact you to discuss the result, options and further testing available to you.
For more information:
Anaemia is most commonly caused by a low haemoglobin level (Hb) in the red blood cells. The Hb is usually tested as part of the ‘full blood count’. Hb carries oxygen and nutrients around the body and to your baby. Anaemia can make you feel very tired and may make you less able to cope with losing blood at the time of the birth. If you are anaemic you will be offered advice on diet and possibly iron supplements.
Blood group & antibodies
This test tells us whether you belong to Group A, B, O or AB whether your blood is Rhesus Positive (Rh +ve) or Negative (Rh -ve) and whether you have any antibodies (foreign blood proteins).
Hepatitis B is a virus which affects the liver. Specialist care will be provided for pregnant women with Hepatitis B. You will be advised to have a course of vaccinations in the first year of your baby’s life to reduce the risk of your baby being affected by this condition.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease which can cause serious problems for your baby, if left untreated. If detected, treatment can be offered with antibiotics. Specialist care will be provided for women with this condition.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) affects the body’s ability to fight infection. This test is important because any woman can be at risk. It can be passed on to your baby during pregnancy, at birth or through breastfeeding. Specialist care/ treatment in pregnancy can greatly reduce the risk of this infection being passed from mother to child. A negative test result does not affect current or future life insurance claims.
Additional Blood Tests
Additional blood tests may be offered as necessary, for example to check for infections that could cause harm to your developing baby, but rarely cause problems for the mother.
Immunise against Flu, Whooping cough & German measles
For more information on immunation against against Flu (Influenza), Whooping cough (Pertussis) and German measles (Rubella) download www.gov.uk
More information on tests
For more information visit www.nhs.uk