Everyone is offered some screening tests during pregnancy to find out about any health conditions that could affect you or your baby. This means that your healthcare team will know about any conditions early and can make better decisions about how to best look after you and your baby going forward.
- During the first 10 weeks of your pregnancy, you’ll be offered a blood test for sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia.
- Around the eight to 10 week mark, you’ll be offered a blood test for infectious diseases: hepatitis B, HIV and syphilis.
- Between 10 and 14 weeks of pregnancy, you’ll be offered a combined screening, which means both an ultrasound and a blood test, to look for Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome, and Patau’s syndrome.
- Between 18 and 21 weeks, you’ll be offered your 20-week scan. This screening looks out for:
- Open spina bifida
- Cleft lip
- Diaphragmatic hernia
- Serious cardiac abnormalities
- Bilateral renal agenesis
- Lethal skeletal dysplasia
- Edwards’ syndrome
- Patau’s syndrome
Depending on any other pre-existing health conditions you might have, like diabetes, you may be offered more screenings than this.
Unfortunately, screening tests are not perfect. Some people will be told they or their baby has a higher chance of having a health condition when they in fact do not have the condition. And a few people will be told they or their baby has a low chance of having a health condition when they do have the condition. It’s always up to you whether you have a screening test or not.