Screening in Pregnancy
If you have requested a screening test for Down, Edwards and Patau syndromes a measurement of the back of the baby’s neck (nuchal translucency) will also be done at this scan as part of the Combined Test (nuchal translucency and blood test). Your community midwife will complete a request form at your booking appointment for you to bring with you to your scan. When you have had your scan you will need to go to the nearby phlebotomy clinic to have a blood test. It is important that this is done immediately after the scan. If the baby is not in a good position and it has not been possible to take this measurement then you will be informed you will need a blood test called the Quadruple test. This is usually performed by your community midwife at your 16-week appointment.
Sometimes the screening result for your baby will come back with an increased risk of Down, Edwards or Patau syndrome. If this happens you will get a phone call from a midwife inviting you to come back to the hospital for an appointment with the Fetal Medicine team. You may be offered diagnostic tests such as amniocentesis or CVS if appropriate. Sometimes the Fetal Medicine team may arrange for you to attend another hospital to have further investigations or to speak with specialist teams who may be able to offer further treatment to you and your baby.
It is important for you to get as much information as possible. You can also contact the charity Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC). ARC has information about screening tests and how you might feel if you are told your baby does have or might have a problem. The charity has a helpline that can be reached on 0845 077 2290 or 020 7713 7486 from a mobile, Monday to Friday, 10am-5:30pm. The helpline is answered by trained staff, who can offer information and support.