Down’s, Edward’s & Patau’s syndromes screening

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Following your early pregnancy ultrasound scan, if you have not yet attended the General Practitioner (GP) or community midwife for referral for maternity care at Milton Keynes University Hospital then this should be completed as soon as possible. If a referral has already been made and a dating/nuchal ultrasound scan has been arranged, please ensure you also attend this appointment.

This leaflet should be read alongside the booklet ‘Screening tests for you and your baby’ provided to you at your antenatal booking appointment or accessible online in several languages via Public Health England. All women in England are offered screening tests for Down’s, Edward’s and Patau’s syndromes in pregnancy in accordance with national quality standards and guidance.

Screening tests DO NOT give a definite answer but they do tell us which babies have a higher chance of having Down’s, Edward’s or Patau’s syndromes.

There are two screening tests:

1. The Nuchal Combined Test
This test is offered to women who are between 11+2 to 14+1 weeks pregnant at the time of the dating/nuchal scan. It involves taking a blood sample from the mother and an ultrasound scan measurement of the fluid at the back of the baby’s neck. This is referred to as the nuchal translucency or NT. This scan measurement, combined with the mother’s age, weight, and biochemical markers in the blood sample, are used to calculate the chance of the baby being affected by Down’s syndrome and/or Edward’s and Patau’s syndromes. This test is suitable for multiple pregnancies.

Occasionally it may not be possible to see the specific views of the baby that this scan requires. If this happens you will need to contact your community midwife to arrange for the quadruple test to be completed ideally between 15-16 weeks but up to 20 weeks gestation.

2. The Quadruple Test
Four biochemical markers in the blood, along with the mother’s age and weight are used to calculate the risk of the baby being affected by Down’s syndrome only. This test is offered to women who are more than 14+1 weeks pregnant at the time of the dating scan, or for whom it has not been technically possible to obtain the measurement required for the nuchal scan. The quadruple test is ideally performed at 16 weeks gestation. Your community midwife can arrange this for you to be completed when you attend the 16 week antenatal appointment. If your pregnancy is more advanced, the quadruple test can be completed up to 20+0 weeks gestation.

Please contact your community midwife to discuss your screening options.

Useful telephone numbers
Community Midwives office: 01908 996 484
Antenatal & Newborn screening team: 01908 995 236 / 07790 935 490

Further Information
NHS Choices:
Antenatal Results and Choices Support Charity: