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Screening tests for you and your baby

During your pregnancy, you'll be offered screening tests that are designed to try to find any health problems that could affect you or the baby.

You don't have to have any of the tests – it's your choice. However, it's important to understand the purpose of all tests so you can make an informed decision about whether to have them. You can discuss this with your maternity team.

What are screening tests?

Screening tests are used to find people with a higher chance of a health problem. This means they can get earlier, potentially more effective treatment, or make informed decisions about their health. 

Screening tests aren't perfect. Some people will be told that they or their baby have a high chance of having a health problem when in fact they don't have the problem. Also, a few people will be told that they or their baby have a low chance of having a health problem when in fact they do have the problem.

What's the difference between screening tests and diagnostic tests?

A screening test can find out if you, or your baby, have a high or low chance of having a health problem. But it cannot usually tell you for certain, so people found to have a high chance of a problem will often be offered a second test. This is called a diagnostic test and gives a more definite ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.

Find out more about screening tests