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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Maternity

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Antenatal Screening

During your pregnancy, we will offer you screening tests designed to identify any health problems that could affect you or your baby.

Screening tests during pregnancy

Screening tests are used to find people with a higher chance of a health problem. This means they can access earlier, potentially more effective treatment, or make informed decisions about their health.

Screening tests are not designed to say if your baby will, or will not, have a problem. There can be false positives and false negatives.

Some people will be told that they or their baby have a high chance of having a health problem when in fact they do not have the problem. Also, a few people will be told they or their baby have a low chance of having a health problem when in fact they do have the problem.

A screening test can find out if you, or your baby, have a high or low chance of having a health problem. However, it cannot usually tell you for certain, so if we find a high chance of a health problem, we often offer a further test.

This is called a diagnostic test and gives a more definite 'yes' or 'no' answer.

At your first antenatal appointment, your community midwife will offer screening for:

  • sickle cell and thalassemia
  • HIV
  • hepatitis B
  • syphilis.

Tests usually take place at the antenatal clinic in your GP surgery.

It is your choice if you have the screening tests or not. You can opt to have some tests and not others; this is a personal choice and one which only you can make.

You have the opportunity to discuss each test we offer you with your midwife, the sonographer or your doctor, and decide based on your own circumstances. You can also change your mind at any time.

Tests offered

Combined Test

Serum blood screening in early pregnancy is performed alongside nuchal scanning, in order to identify high-risk pregnancies.

The test is performed at 11+2 to 14+1 weeks, and, if the results show an increased risk, we offer a diagnostic test, such as chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis.

Quadruple Test

We offer this test to women who are 14+2 to 20+0 weeks pregnant at the time of the scan or in whom it has not been technically possible to obtain the measurements required for the nuchal scan.

Four biochemical markers in the blood are measured, and with the mother's age and weight, are used to calculate the risk of the baby being affected by Down's Syndrome.

Contact us

Antenatal and Newborn Screening Team
Level 4, Women's Centre
John Radcliffe Hospital
Oxford OX3 9DU

Tel: 01865 221087 / 221061 Monday to Friday 8.00am - 4.00pm

Email: ouh-tr.screeningteam.nhs.net

Links

Screening tests for you and your baby: description in brief - www.gov.uk
Available in various languages and formats

Screening tests for you and your baby: easy guides - www.gov.uk

Screening timeline video

NHS Antenatal and newborn screening timeline - vimeopro.com

Screening and confidentiality

National population screening programmes: the information we use and why, and your options - www.gov.uk