What are the key tests I will have in pregnancy?

During pregnancy you will be offered some key tests and checks to keep an eye on your and your baby’s health.

These tests look for early signs of problems, such as pre-eclampsia. Try not to miss them and if you do miss one, rearrange it. Even if you feel fine, it is best to be sure.

Routine tests in pregnancy

You will be offered tests and checks in pregnancy to keep an eye on your health and your baby's health.The same routine tests are offered to all pregnant women at antenatal appointments. You will also be given information to help you decide whether you want to have them. Find out more about routine tests in pregnancy here.

Ultrasound scans

You will be offered at least two ultrasound scans during your pregnancy. If you have any pregnancy complications and your baby needs more checks you might have more scans. The first routine ultrasound scan will happen around week 11-14 to confirm the baby’s due date and the number of babies that you’re expecting. The second ultrasound scan will happen around week 20 to check that your baby is developing healthily. Find out more about ultrasound scans in pregnancy here.

Screening and diagnostic tests in pregnancy

A screening test checks if your baby has a high risk of having a particular condition, such as Down’s Syndrome. All women are offered a screening test. If the screening test shows up any complications then you will be offered diagnostic tests, which can tell you whether your baby has the condition. There are some different types of screening and diagnostic tests. To find out which tests your hospital offers you should ask your midwife how it works in your area.

Find out more about screening and diagnostic tests in pregnancy here

More on tests in pregnancy

  • Pregnant woman having an ultrasound scan.

    Ultrasound scans

    An ultrasound scan is a way of looking at your baby in the womb. Scans can check the date your baby is due, tell whether you're having more than one baby and pick up on some possible problems.

  • Profile of pregnant woman draw in white chalk on black board.

    Screening and diagnostic tests

    Screening tests will let you know whether your baby has a high risk of a particular condition, such as Down's syndrome. Diagnostic tests will let you know whether they have it.

  • Woman having her blood pressure checked by nurse.

    What routine tests will I have in pregnancy?

    You will be offered tests and checks in pregnancy to keep an eye on your health and your baby's. You will also be given information to help you decide whether you want to have them.

Sources

1. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2008) ‘Antenatal Care. Appendix D: Antenatal appointments (schedule and content)’, NICE Clinical Guideline 62: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg62/chapter/appendix-d-antenatal-appointments-schedule-and-content [accessed 10 February 2015].

2. NHS Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme (2010) Standards and Guidance, Exeter, NHS Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme: http://www.fetalanomaly.screening.nhs.uk/fetalanomalyresource/images/stories/Downloads/2.6.1/nhs_fasp-all-standards-and-guidelines.pdf [accessed 10 February 2015].

3. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2008) ‘Antenatal Care. Statement 1.10: Fetal growth and well-being’, NICE Clinical Guideline 62: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg62/chapter/1-guidance#fetal-growth-and-wellbeing [accessed 10 February 2015].

4. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2011) ‘Multiple pregnancy: The management of twin and triplet pregnancies in the antenatal period’, NICE Clinical Guideline 129: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg129 [accessed 10 February 2015] (next review date: June 2016).

5. ‘Antenatal checks and tests’, NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/antenatal-care-checks-tests.aspx [accessed 10 February 2015] (last reviewed: 8 January 2015; next review due: 8 January 2017).
 
6. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2008) ‘Antenatal Care. Statement 1.9: Screening for clinical conditions’, NICE Clinical Guideline 62: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg62/chapter/guidance#screening-for-clinical-conditions [accessed 10 February 2015].
 
7. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2008) ‘Antenatal Care. Statement 1.8: Screening for infections’, NICE Clinical Guideline 62: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg62/chapter/1-guidance#screening-for-infections [accessed 10 February 2015].
 
8. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2008) ‘Antenatal Care. Statement 1.6: Screening for haematological conditions’, NICE Clinical Guideline 62: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg62/chapter/1-guidance#screening-for-haematological-conditions [accessed 10 February 2015].
 
9. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2008) ‘Antenatal Care. Statement 1.10: Fetal growth and well-being’, NICE Clinical Guideline 62: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg62/chapter/1-guidance#fetal-growth-and-wellbeing [accessed 10 February 2015]
 
10. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2008) ‘Antenatal Care. Statement 1.7.2: Screening for Down’s syndrome’, NICE Clinical Guideline 62: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg62/chapter/1-guidance#screening-for-f... [accessed 10 February 2015]; ‘Screening for Down’s syndrome’, NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/screening-amniocentesis-downs-syndrome.aspx [accessed 10 February 2015].

13. ‘Chorionic villus sampling’, NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chorionic-villus-sampling/Pages/Introduction.aspx [accessed 10 February 2015] (last reviewed: 14 October 2013; next review due: 14 October 2015); RCOG (2010) Amniocentesis and Chorionic Villus Sampling: Green-top Guideline No. 8, London, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (reviewed: 2014).

14. Amniocentesis’, NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Amniocentesis/Pages/Introduction.aspx [accessed 10 February 2015] (last reviewed: 27 May 2014; next review due: 27 May 2016); RCOG (2010) Amniocentesis and Chorionic Villus Sampling: Green-top Guideline No. 8, London, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (reviewed: 2014).

15. New Down’s syndrome blood test “more reliable”’, NHS Choices news report, 7 June 2013: http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/06June/Pages/New-Downs-syndrome-blood-test-more-reliable.aspx[accessed 10 February 2015]; Gil MM, Quezada MS, Bregant B, Ferraro M, Nicolaides KH (2013)

16. ‘Implementation of maternal blood cell-free DNA testing in early screening for aneuploidies’, Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology 42 (1): 34-40: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/uog.12504/abstract;jsessionid=FE45B3F49F6158C129431928AA91297A.d04t03 [accessed 10 February 2015].

 
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