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Maternity Screening information

Screening tests in pregnancy

A number of screening tests will be offered to you in your pregnancy and newborn period. This is to find out if there are any health conditions that could affect you or your baby.

Occasionally, screening may lead to difficult decisions that might need to be made in pregnancy. The screening tests that you will be offered at your first booking appointment with your midwife are listed below:

  • Hepatitis B
  • HIV
  • Syphilis
  • Sickle Cell & Thalassaemia
  • First Trimester Combined Screening
  • If applicable Quadruple Test
  • Second Trimester 18-20+6 week anomaly scan

Screening tests are offered to babies soon after they are born. Any baby that is found to have a screen positive result can be referred to specialists and offered appropriate treatment as quickly as possible. Please see below screening tests that are offered to your baby:

  • Newborn Infant Physical Examination
  • Newborn hearing examination
  • Newborn Blood Spot
  • Pulse Oximetry Test

Before your appointment with the community midwife please watch the video below or read the Screening Tests For You and Your Baby leaflet to find out more about the tests. This is available in  other languages and easy guides. If you need a leaflet the midwife will provide you with printed copy at your booking appointment.

The MyPregnancy@StMichaels App is also available for downloading or you can scan the QR code to access screening information.

   Screen Youtube Screenshot  (We would like this video to be added to the webpage please)

Please select the following link if you would like the video with subtitles in English, as well as Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Somali and Urdu.

You will be provided with information relating to these screening tests and have the opportunity to discuss your screening choices with the midwife during your antenatal booking appointment. If you have any other questions regarding screening then please contact the Screening Midwives on the numbers below.

Infectious diseases

Hepatitis B

This will be a blood test that is offered to you at your booking appointment with the midwife. Hepatitis B is a virus that affects the liver and can cause long term illness. It can be passed on in blood, body fluids and through sexual contact. You will be advised that your baby has a course of vaccinations in the first year of their life to reduce the risk of your baby being affected by this condition. Specialist care will be provided to you throughout your pregnancy.


This will be a blood test that is offered to you at your booking appointment with the midwife. HIV weakens the immune system and makes it difficult to fight infections. HIV can be passed through bloods, body fluids, sexual contact, birth and breast feeding. Specialist care and treatment will be provided during your pregnancy to reduce the risk of this infection being passed to your baby.


This is a blood test that is offered to you at your booking appointment with the midwife. Syphilis is a sexual transmitted disease which can cause health concerns with your baby if left untreated. Specialist treatment will be required to reduce this risk.

Sickle cell and thalassaemia

This will be a blood test that is offered to you at your booking appointment with the midwife. This is a test to find out if you are a carrier of the sickle cell or thalassaemia gene which you can pass onto your baby. If you are a carrier, a midwife will contact you and offer screening to the father of the baby. To access more information on different Haemoglobinopathies, please access the link below:

First trimester combined screening (FTCS)

FTCS is a screening test for Down's syndrome, Edwards' syndrome and Patau's syndrome and is available between 11+2 - 14+1 weeks of pregnancy. The test can help identify pregnancies where the baby has a higher chance, greater than 1 in 150, of having one of the three syndromes.

If you decide to have FTCS, you will have an appointment around 12 weeks of pregnancy where a scan will be performed and you will have a blood test done that measures two hormones in your blood. At the scan, the fluid at the back of your baby's neck (called the nuchal translucency) will be also be measured. Your blood test results and the nuchal translucency measurement will be used together with your age to work out the chance of your baby having Down's syndrome, Edwards' syndrome or Patau's syndrome.

Occasionally, FTCS test is not possible and you will be offered a Quadruple test in the second trimester by your community midwife. For example; if you are over 14+1 weeks and the combined test cannot be offered you will be offered a quadruple test.

The Quadruple test combines four hormone levels with your age to screen for Down's syndrome only. For those who have quadruple screening, the 18-20+6 anomaly scan is used to screen for Edwards' syndrome and Patau's syndrome

FTCS results

If you choose to have this screening then you will receive the result in figures that tell you how likely it is that your baby has Down's syndrome, Edwards syndrome or Patau's syndrome. It will be given to you in the format of "a chance of 1 in XX". The term 'chance' here means the possibility of an event happening. For example, a chance of 1 in 100 means that out of 100 people with this specific result, 1 will have a baby with the syndrome and 99 will not.

You will be given one figure for Down's syndrome and one figure for Edwards' and Patau's syndrome.

If you receive a result that is 1 in 151 and greater in number this is considered a low chance result and you will receive a letter in the post within 14 calendar days. You will not be offered further testing.

If you receive a result that is between 1 in 2 and 1 in 150 this is considered a high chance result. The screening midwives will contact youwithin 3 working daysto discuss your result and the options available to you to have further testing. It is always up to you to decide after a high chance result whether you would like to have further testing done.

 Non invasive prenatal testing (NIPT)

From the 1st June 2021, women who receive a higher chance result from a combined (FTCS) or quadruple test which was taken on or after the 1st June 2021 will be offered non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT).

NIPT is a blood test that looks at DNA material from the placenta in the maternal blood stream. The blood test is analysed to determine the likelihood of the baby having either Down's syndrome, Edwards syndrome or Patau's syndrome.

NIPT is very sensitive screening test, but it is important to know that it does not give a definite yes/no answer about whether the baby has one of the conditions. It will tell you whether it is 'very likely' or 'very unlikely' that you baby has any of the three syndromes. The test carries no risk to the mother or the baby.

If you receive a screening result that is 1 in 150 or higher, the screening midwives will discuss the option to have NIPT when they contact you to discuss result. If you receive an increased chance result from the NIPT then you will be offered an invasive diagnostic test to confirm the screening test results. These tests are called Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) or Amniocentesis. More information on both of these tests can be found on the Fetal Medicine Unit page.

The 20 week anomaly scan

This detailed ultrasound scan, sometimes called the mid-pregnancy or anomaly scan, is usually carried out when you're between 18 and 21 weeks pregnant. The 20-week screening scan is offered to everybody, but you do not have to have it if you do not want to.

The 20-week screening scan is carried out in the same way as the 12-week scan. It produces a 2D black and white image that gives a side view of the baby. The NHS screening programme does not use 3D or colour images.

The 20-week screening scan looks in detail at the baby's bones, heart, brain, spinal cord, face, kidneys and abdomen. It allows the sonographer to look for 11 rare conditions. In most cases, the scan will show that the baby appears to be developing as expected, but sometimes the sonographer will find or suspect something different.

For more information on the 20 week scan, the 11 conditions screened for, please follow the link below:

If you want to know your baby's sex, you should ask the sonographer at the start of the scan, so they know that they need to check.

Scan prints are available to buy at the anomaly scan, at a cost of £10 for a set (5 prints). Only 1 set can be purchased. There is a contactless card machine available.


Due to COVID-19, you may bring ONE adult support person to your scan, however, no children are allowed in the hospital. Your support person must wait outside the hospital until you are in the scan room, at which time you can phone them to come to the department and they will be directed to the appropriate scan room.

All support persons must wear a mask in the scan room or they will not be allowed in.

Screening tests after your baby is born

A number of screening tests will be offered to your baby in the immediate postnatal period. Please watch the below video which explains these screening tests. If you require the information in a different language then please contact your community midwife.

 Screening After Birth

Newborn and infant physical examination (English) - YouTube

For more information scan the QR link to access the newborn screening leaflets.


For more information on screening tests in your pregnancy below: 

Antenatal results and choices (ARC) is a UK charity that supports parents throughout antenatal screening: Tel: 0207 713 7486


Contact us:

Between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

Weston screening midwives: 01934 647 288

Bristol screening midwives: 0117 342 5708