Local Maternity System

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Pregnancy journey

Antenatal screening

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Please note that there will be changes to the way your antenatal and screening appointments are conducted as a result of the current restrictions in place.

Currently you must attend your appointments alone including your scan appointment. Some appointments are now held over the telephone but this will be explained to you by your midwife. It is important that you continue to attend for your appointments when invited and if you have any concerns regarding your pregnancy please telephone the hospital. 

At your first booking appointment your community midwife will discuss and offer you a range of screening tests. These screening tests offered are to help identify any health problems that you may have or that could affect your baby, and may include blood tests and ultrasound scans. You will have been given a booklet to help you understand the screening tests available (click here for more information). This information is available in 13 different languages, easy read and MP3 audio files. Further information is available on the NHS website. A screening animation for pregnant women and parents with newborn babies is available here .

Screening is optional and we understand choosing to have the screening tests is a personal choice - you do not have to accept any of the tests offered, however we would like you to understand the purpose of tests so you can make an informed choice. Please ask if you do not understand any of the information provided. 

Some of the screening tests for Downs, Edwards and Patau syndrome, sickle cell disease and thalassaemia may lead to difficult decisions and choices of whether to have a diagnostic test. Some tests are invasive and on rare occasions may lead to a miscarriage. You may also need to decide whether you want to continue the pregnancy, depending on the risks described by the test results. Your midwife team or consultant can support you with this decision making. 

Some of the screening tests can only be offered in early pregnancy.

You can find out more about the screening tests available by clicking the links below.

Blood tests

Infectious diseases - HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis

Screening for inherited conditions - sickle cell disease and thalassaemia

Diabetes in pregnancy

It is recommended that you have an early referral and frequent ante natal appointments to maximise your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby. These appointments will be normally held in a hospital setting via a medical team.

Diabetic eye retinal screening

What is the test for?

To check for signs of diabetic retinopathy and other eye problems caused by diabetes and monitor the health of your eyes if you are pregnant and have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

You will not need diabetic eye screening if you did not have diabetes before pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a condition which develops during pregnancy and leads to high levels of glucose in the blood. Glucose comes from carbohydrates for example bread, rice, potatoes. Insulin is a hormone that acts like a key to unlock cells to allow glucose to enter. Insulin helps to lower blood glucose levels and keep them in the normal range. During pregnancy your body needs more insulin than usual. This is because the placenta releases hormones which makes your body more resistant to insulin. This is not a problem for the majority of women however in some women they are not able to produce enough insulin to overcome this resistance and therefore blood glucose levels rise to above normal levels.

What are the risk factors?

  • Previous gestational diabetes
  • Previous large baby over 4.5 kg
  • Body mass index (BMI) over 30kg/m2
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Ethnicity - areas of higher prevalence of diabetes
  • Glucose in your urine on more than one occasion 

If you fall into one of the above categories you will be offered a glucose tolerance test. This involves attending for an appointment  usually in a hospital setting between 24 - 28 weeks gestation.

Ultrasound scans

It is recommended in England that all women are offered a minimum of two ultrasound scans during their pregnancy. You will be offered an early pregnancy scan, which is usually performed between eight weeks and 14 weeks + 1 day of pregnancy.

The purpose of the scan is to assess how many weeks' pregnant you are, how many babies you are having and to check on your baby's wellbeing. The early pregnancy scan leaflet from Public Health England can be accessed here

Dating scan 8-14+6 weeks of pregnancy

Between 18+0 and 20+6 weeks pregnant you will be offered an anomaly scan.

The purpose of the anomaly scan is to look for any problems your baby may have (we may describe these as 'structural abnormalities'). The fetal anomaly screening leaflet from Public Health England can be accessed here

Find out more:

Newborn screening

Downs, Edwards and Patau syndrome

Rash awareness

2019-07-03 (7)

Your baby is now officially an embryo and is about the size of a poppy seed.

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/4-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (4)

Your baby is now the size of a kidney bean and weighs 1g. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/8-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (6)

Welcome to the second trimester!

Your baby is about the size of a small lime and weighs approximately 14g.

You have hopefully seen your midwife for your 'booking in' appointment, if you have not yet seen a midwife please make an appointment quickly, so you can have all of your choices about screening tests explained and offered to you.

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/12-weeks-pregnant/ for more information. You can also link to the 'Pregnancy Journey' area here.  


Your baby is about the size of an avocado and weighs approximately 100g. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/16-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (2)

Your baby has grown in length and is now the length of a small banana and weighs approximately 300g. Around this time you will be offered your '20 week' scan, also known as the 'anatomy' or 'anomaly' scan.Click here for more information about screening. 

This is a also a good time to talk and sing to your bump as your baby can now hear sounds. This is great way for you and your partner/family to bond with your baby.

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/20-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (8)

Your baby has grown again to the approximate length of an ear of sweetcorn and weighs about 600g. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/24-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (1)

Welcome to the third trimester!

Your baby is now approximately the weight of an aubergine; about 1kg and approximately 37cm in length. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/28-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (3)

Your baby now weighs approximately the same as a coconut; around 1.5kg. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/32-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (5)

Your baby is now around the same size as a lettuce, approximately 47cm long and weighs around 2.6kg. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/36-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.

2019-07-03 (9)

Your baby is now the weight of a small watermelon which is approximately 3.3kg and around 50cm in length. 

Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/40-weeks-pregnant/ for more information.