Screening tests are offered to all pregnant women to assess the chance of you or your baby having a health condition or chromosome condition.
They don't provide a definite diagnosis, but help you and your midwife decide whether you need further tests to make a diagnosis.
Your pregnancy, your choice
You may choose not to be screened because you don’t want to know whether your baby has a health condition or chromosome condition.
You may choose to be screened so you can get support earlier and make decisions for you and your baby. For example, to prepare or plan treatment for any health condition or chromosome conditions identified after your baby's born.
You can discuss all screening tests with your midwife.
What tests will I be offered during my pregnancy?
During your pregnancy you'll be offered:
These are used to test for:
- blood count, blood group and Rhesus status (positive or negative)
- sickle cell and thalassaemia
- infectious diseases (hepatitis B, syphilis and HIV)
- Down’s syndrome
- Edwards’ syndrome
- Patau’s syndrome
Women whose first trimester test results show that their baby has a higher chance of having Down’s syndrome or Edwards’ syndrome or Patau’s syndrome are offered a further screening test called non-invasive prenatal testing, known as NIPT.
This test can give women more accurate information about how likely it is their baby may have either Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome or Patau’s syndrome.
Diagnostic tests are offered to women whose screening tests show:
- they have a higher chance of being a carrier for (or having) sickle cell or thalassaemia
- a higher chance their baby may have either Down’s syndrome or Edwards’ syndrome or Patau’s syndrome
When will I have these tests?
Some pregnancy screening tests should take place as early as possible in pregnancy, ideally by 10 weeks, but can be done later on if necessary.
However, some other tests can only be done at a certain times during pregnancy (for example screening to see if a baby may have either Down’s syndrome or Edwards’ syndrome or Patau’s syndrome).
What tests will I be offered after birth?
Towards the end of your pregnancy your midwife will talk to you about newborn screening.
Pregnancy screening leaflet
Public Health Scotland has produced a leaflet explaining pregnancy screening in Scotland, why it's offered and what happens next if the test finds that your baby might have a health condition or chromosome condition.
This leaflet is available in English and other languages.
You're pregnant! Scans and tests leaflet