Screening tests asses your baby’s wellbeing during pregnancy

Screening tests assess the chance of your baby having a particular health condition when they are born.  

Read on for more information on the conditions that we can screen your baby for, what to expect from the screening tests, and if there are any tests that you need to book once you have registered for our maternity services.  

If you or your partner would like more information about screening in pregnancy or you have any concerns or questions about screening procedures, please attend one of our virtual information sessions. 

The virtual screening information sessions cover the topics listed on this page and will give you and your birth partner the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have about screening tests. 

Find out more and book your place here.

Ultrasound scans 

Ultrasound scans check the wellbeing of yourself and your baby. Most women are offered two ultra-sound scans, one between 11 and 14 weeks and another at around 20 weeks.    

sonographer giving an ultrasound scan to a pregnant person

Nuchal scan 

Every woman is offered a nuchal scan for common conditions. The midwife will assess at your first appointment if any other tests are needed based on your individual circumstances and will explain what to expect from your upcoming scans. 

Screening for these conditions is not compulsory and you can decline the screening if you wish. 

The screening tests available are: 

Combined screening test 

Combined screening is a standard test which uses the measurements from your dating scan at around 12-14 weeks, and the levels of certain hormones in your blood, to assess the chance of Down’s Syndrome, Edwards’ Syndrome or Patau’s Syndrome

The scan will tell you if you have a higher or lower risk of having a baby with one of these conditions. It is not able to confirm a diagnosis. 

If the test shows you have a higher chance of any of these syndromes, you can decide whether to have further tests.

CVS/ Amniocentesis 

These tests are invasive (go inside the body) The tests are used to diagnose the baby with chromosome or genetic conditions. These tests are only offered when there is an increased chance of a chromosome or genetic condition and are optional. Please speak to your midwife if you have any questions.

Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT)  

Non-invasive prenatal testing is a blood test to measure the amount of genetic material in the mother’s blood. NIPT is an extremely accurate screening test for the most common chromosome conditions. NIPT is offered when the combined screening test suggests an increased chance of one of the conditions. NIPT is also available privately for those who don’t qualify on the NHS.