Screening Tests and Ultrasound Scans

During pregnancy, you’ll be offered tests to check for health problems that could affect you or your baby. These tests can help you make choices about extra tests or care during or after pregnancy. All tests from the NHS are free.

Screening tests find people who have a higher chance of having a health problem. This means they can get treatment or make choices about their health sooner. These tests aren’t perfect, and sometimes they can give wrong results.

In Somerset, if you’re pregnant you be offered ultrasound scans, blood tests, or both. These tests can find problems like spina bifida or inherited conditions like sickle cell anaemia. They can also tell if your baby might have Down’s Syndrome, Edwards’ Syndrome, or Patau’s Syndrome and whether you have infections like HIV, hepatitis B or syphilis.

Screening tests can’t hurt you or your baby, but you should think carefully about whether to have them. Some tests can lead to hard choices, like whether to have more tests that could risk a miscarriage or whether to continue or end your pregnancy.

Screening tests offered in pregnancy:

In Somerset you will be offered these screening tests:

  • Screening for infectious diseases (hepatitis B, HIV and syphilis)
  • Screening for inherited conditions (sickle cell, thalassaemia and other haemoglobin disorders)
  • Screening for Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome
  • Screening for 11 physical conditions (20-week scan)

Screening tests for your baby after birth:

Some screening tests will also be offered to your baby after they’re born:

  • newborn physical examination
  • newborn hearing screening
  • newborn blood spot screening

Remember, it’s your choice whether to have a screening test. You can learn more about the different tests by talking to your midwife or GP and decide if it’s right for you.

If you decide not to get any screening tests or scans, your antenatal care will go on as usual.

NHS Video - Screening tests for you and your baby