Antenatal Screening: Your Questions Answered

Antenatal screening plays a crucial role in ensuring a safe pregnancy. This article will address some common questions about antenatal screening, providing you with the info you need to make informed choices about your prenatal care.

What Is Antenatal Screening?

Antenatal screening refers to a set of tests performed during pregnancy to assess the health of the mother and the developing baby. These screenings aim to detect any potential genetic disorders, congenital disabilities or other medical conditions that may impact the pregnancy or the health of the baby after birth. By identifying these conditions early on, healthcare professionals can provide appropriate care and support.

What Tests Are Included in Antenatal Screening?

Several tests are commonly performed as part of antenatal screening. These may vary depending on your circumstances, but they often include:


This non-invasive imaging technique helps assess the baby's growth, check for structural abnormalities and estimate the due date.

Blood Tests

Blood samples are taken to screen for various conditions, such as gestational diabetes, anaemia and infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis.

Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)

NIPT involves a blood test that screens for genetic conditions like Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome and Patau syndrome.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) or Amniocentesis

These diagnostic tests are recommended for high-risk pregnancies or when a specific genetic condition is suspected. They involve sampling foetal cells for chromosomal analysis.

What Are the Benefits and Limitations of Antenatal Screening?

Antenatal screening provides valuable information that can help guide medical decisions and prepare parents for potential challenges. Some benefits include:

  • Early detection of genetic conditions or birth defects allows for informed choices and early intervention.
  • Reducing uncertainty and anxiety by providing reassurance about the baby's health.
  • Facilitating appropriate medical care and planning for any necessary interventions.

However, it's important to note that antenatal screening has limitations. Not all conditions can be detected, and false-positive or false-negative results are possible. It's crucial to discuss the benefits and limitations with your healthcare provider to understand the implications of the test results.


Antenatal screening is a vital aspect of prenatal care that helps ensure the well-being of both mother and baby. By providing valuable information about potential risks and conditions, it enables healthcare providers to deliver the best care possible. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine the specific screenings that are right for you based on your medical history and individual circumstances. For more info, speak to an obstetrician today.