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Routine Maternity Tests

In this section, you can find out about:

Antenatal Care
Pregnancy Screening
Blood Tests
Antenatal Scans
Down’s Syndrome Screening
At 28 Weeks

A nurse scanning a mum to be

Antenatal Care
A full range of maternity services is offered.  Antenatal clinics are held in the community and also at the Thomas Linacre Centre in Wigan and at Leigh Infirmary. Specialist antenatal clinics are held in conjunction with other clinicians for those with diabetes and thyroid disorders (weekly), epilepsy (monthly) and blood disorders (monthly). A specialist midwife who has specialist knowledge regarding the associated problems cares for those involved with substance misuse.

Pregnancy Screening
The screening information booklet ‘Screening tests for You and Your Baby’ is given to women at first point of contact locally. All the antenatal screening tests offered in this Trust are described in this booklet. Full counseling regarding the implications of all the screening tests will be given at the booking visit.

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Blood Tests
It is important to take blood samples from you at different stages of your pregnancy. The first blood is usually taken at the “booking in” visit and is tested for:

  • Blood group
  • Anaemia
  • Immunity to rubella (German measles)
  • Risk from syphilis (although extremely rare, it can cause severe problems to unborn babies)
  • HIV and hepatitis B
  • Sickle cell and Thalassaemia

When you attend for your dating scan the blood test results will be discussed with you.

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Antenatal Scans
All pregnant women are routinely offered two scans. Your partner, a friend or relative is welcome to accompany you to the scans. The first scan is performed at approximately 12 weeks of pregnancy. This scan will confirm:

  • You are pregnant
  • Your baby's heartbeat can be seen
  • Your expected date of delivery
  • If you are expecting more than one baby

Your midwife will give you a detailed information sheet after your dating scan to explain what to expect at subsequent scans.

Later in pregnancy, at around 20 weeks, you will be offered a second scan.

This can check if:

  • There may be physical problems with your developing baby
  • The position of the placenta (afterbirth)

If you need any further scans later in your pregnancy, you will be informed by a healthcare professional. These later scans monitor the position, growth and wellbeing of your baby, and check the position of the placenta. Scan photographs are available up until 24 weeks (approx £3.50).

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Down’s Syndrome Screening 
Down’s syndrome screening is available to women up to 20 weeks gestation. Women are offered either the Combined or the Quad screening test.  The test offered will depend on the gestation of the woman at the dating scan. The combined test can be performed between 11weeks 2 days and 14 weeks 1day. The Quad test can be performed between 14 weeks 2 days and 20 weeks. These tests are described in the Screening tests for you and your baby leaflet.

Women with a high risk result are offered a diagnostic test. Women below 15 weeks who wish to have an early test are referred to the Fetal Medicine Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in Manchester for a Chorionic Villus Sampling. Amniocentesis is available at WWL from 15weeks gestation.

An ultrasound scan is offered at approximately 12 weeks - to confirm viability, dates and multiplicity. The NT is measured as required.  A further scan is offered between 18 weeks gestation and 20 weeks 6 days gestation to screen for fetal abnormality. Further information about screening for abnormities can be found on the Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme (FASP) website. Further specialist ultrasound scans are provided if this is necessary.

Further information (and booklets in other languages) may be obtained via the national screening website. An antenatal screening coordinator is available locally on 01942 774700 if there are any further specific queries regarding screening after the booking visit.

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At 28 Weeks
You will be asked to have your blood checked once again to ensure you are not anaemic and also to re-check for any antibodies within your blood regardless of your Rhesus status. If your blood group is rhesus negative, your midwife will explain that an injection of anti-D can be given to you at 28 weeks of pregnancy. If you are rhesus negative and have any bleeding during pregnancy, then it may be necessary to have a further injection of anti-D.
 
PDF Document A leaflet is available to explain more about rhesus negative blood

Full counselling regarding the implications of all the screening tests will be given at the booking visit. An antenatal screening coordinator is available on a mobile phone, contactable via the Trust switchboard (01942 244000) if there are any further specific queries regarding screening after the booking visit.

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