Pregnancy Combined Screening Test

The combined screening test is offered to screen for Down’s syndrome. This test does not give a 100% definitive result, but it does give an accurate presentation of risk and if there is an elevated risk of your baby having Down’s syndrome, this enables you to make decisions during your pregnancy with greater understanding of the risks involved; it is worth noting that many women who have a scan, which indicates a higher risk, go on to have perfectly healthy children.

The test involves taking an accurate measurement of the crown rump length (the length between the baby’s head and their bottom) and analysing a sample of fluid taken from the back of the neck; this is known as the nuchal translucency (NT) test.

In addition to the NT, a blood sample will also be taken and analysed; this sample is checked for the levels of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) and PAPP-A (associated plasma protein). If your baby has Down’s syndrome, it is likely that the levels of these substances will be higher than normal.

With private combined screening, the test can also be used to assess the risk of Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome.

Combined screening is usually available between 11 weeks and 2 days and 14 weeks and 1 day.

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