Screening in early pregnancy is important

All pregnant women are offered screening tests to check on their health, and their baby’s health. These tests are usually carried out by a midwife. 

Some screening tests should ideally be done before a woman reaches 10 weeks of pregnancy. This is because further tests may be needed, and decisions made about ongoing care. 

So as soon as you know you’re pregnant, please contact your local midwife service and book your first appointment with them.
BETTER FOR YOU | Book before 10 weeks | BETTER FOR BABY

Your first midwife appointment

Your first appointment with a midwife may take place at a GP surgery, Children’s Centre, at home or at a hospital. It depends on the services available where you live.
At this appointment you will receive standard health checks, for example have your blood pressure taken. You will also be offered a number of screening tests. 

These tests are usually done by the midwife taking a blood sample.
I found out I was pregnant at 6 weeks. At 8 weeks I got in touch with my midwife to book my first appointment.

What tests are included within the screening process?

HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis can be tested for, as well as Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome. You can choose to have these tests or not. 

Testing is also offered for thalassaemia and sickle cell. Tests for thalassaemia and sickle cell should be done before 10 weeks to be most effective.
Find out more
Other screen tests like ultrasound scans are usually done later on in pregnancy – your midwife will discuss these with you

Do I have to have a screening test?

Whether to take screening tests or not is entirely up to you. Some people prefer to find out whether their baby is affected, or to rule out any potential issues.

If you choose not to be screened for sickle cell and thalassaemia during pregnancy, your baby can still have screening for the conditions as part of the newborn blood spot screening a few days after birth.

Either way, it’s important to book to see a midwife as soon as you know you’re pregnant, so you can receive the best possible care for you and your baby, every step of the way.

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