Having a happy and healthy baby is what we all want and in the majority of cases, this is exactly what happens.
Most babies develop normally but sadly, a small number are born with abnormalities.
You will be offered screening tests during your pregnancy to try to find any health problems that may affect you or your baby.
The tests can help you to make informed choices about the care or treatment you receive during your pregnancy or after your baby is born.
Screening tests offered during pregnancy:
- Infectious diseases (HIV, Syphilis and/or Hepatitis B)
- Sickle Cell and Thalassemia
- Down’s Edward's and Pataus' Syndrome
- Fetal Anomaly (mid pregnancy) Scan
Some screening tests are offered for your baby soon after he or she is born. We offer these so that your baby can be given appropriate treatment as quickly as possible if needed.
It is very important that some of the antenatal tests that are offered are taken by the time you are ten weeks pregnant, so please book to see your midwife as soon as you know that you are pregnant.
If you know that you, the father of your baby, or a family member already has the health problem being screened for, please speak to your midwife as soon as possible.
If you choose not to have the screening test for these conditions, it is important to understand that if you have a scan at any point during your pregnancy it could pick up physical abnormalities.
These could be related to Down`s Syndrome but there is a chance that other problems could be picked up on a scan.
The healthcare professional scanning you will always tell you if any abnormalities are found.
Screening tests offered for your new born baby:
- Heart, eyes, hips and testes (physical examination)
- Hearing loss
- Blood spot
Why are screening tests needed?
A screening test can find out if you, or your baby, are at high or low risk of having a health problem.
This initial screening test cannot tell you for certain so women who are found to be at high risk will often be offered a secondary test. This is called a diagnostic test and gives a more definite ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.
It is important to remember that these screening tests are not perfect.
Some people will be told that they or their baby are at high risk of having a health problem when in fact they do not have the problem. Also, a few people will be told that they or their baby are at low risk of having a health problem when in fact, there is a problem.
Should I have screening tests?
Whether or not you decide to have a screening test is always a personal choice and one which only you can make.
You can discuss each of the screening tests you are offered with your healthcare professionals and decide, based on your own circumstances, whether or not it is right for you.