Screening tests for you and your baby
Screening tests are offered during pregnancy to try to find any health conditions that you or your baby may have. The tests – ultrasound scans, blood tests and a questionnaire – can help you make choices about care or treatment during pregnancy or after your baby is born.
As part of your antenatal care, you will be offered a number of blood tests. Some are offered to all women and some are only offered if it is thought that you are at risk of a particular infection or inherited condition. All of the tests are done to help make your pregnancy safer or to check that your baby is healthy. Only one sampling of blood is needed for the tests, and it is stored and can be checked for other infections throughout the pregnancy.
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Most hospitals will offer women at least two ultrasound scans during their pregnancy. The first is usually around eight to 12 weeks and is sometimes called the dating scan because it can help to determine when the baby is due. The second scan usually takes place between 18 and 20 weeks and is called the anomaly scan because it checks for structural abnormalities.
Ultrasound scans use sound waves to build up a picture of your baby in your uterus. They are completely painless, have no known serious side effects on mothers or their babies, and may be carried out for medical need at any stage of pregnancy. If you have any concerns about having a scan, talk it over with your midwife, GP or obstetrician.
Newborn screening tests are offered for your baby soon after he or she is born. We offer these so your baby can be given appropriate treatment as quickly as possible if needed.
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