Antenatal screening

All expectant mothers who have their antenatal care at the Royal Free London Hospitals are offered routine antenatal screening tests, which conform to national standards. Screening tests are used to identify people at a higher chance of a health condition. Whether or not to have each test is a personal choice that only the individual invited for screening can make.

We off screening tests to all pregnant women during pregnancy to look for certain health conditions that could affect them or their baby and tests include screening for:

  • Infectious diseases including HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis (blood test)
  • Sickle cell disease and thalassaemia (blood test)
  • Routine screening for Down’s syndrome is offered to all pregnant women from 11 weeks and two days' gestation, up to 20 weeks' gestation (blood test and scan)
  • Routine screening for Edward’s syndrome & Patau’s syndrome is offered to all pregnant women from 11 weeks and 2 days gestation to 14 weeks and one day gestation only (blood test and scan)

The 20-week scan takes place between 18 weeks to 20 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy gestation to check for 11 physical conditions with the baby and the scan is completed by 23 weeks of pregnancy. 

Video: screening tests available during pregnancy and for newborn babies

Read the Antenatal screening tests for you and your baby digital leaflet before your midwife booking appointment to find out much more about the screening tests offered during and after pregnancy. This link is also provided in your Booking Appointment letter and the information is also available in other languages and easy guide.

If you require a printed copy of this leaflet, you can collect one at your booking appointment where your screening options will be discussed with you.

Screening tests are also offered for babies soon after they are born so they can be given appropriate treatment as quickly as possible if needed. Please access our Postnatal Care - Postnatal Screening’ section for more detailed information.