To help us continue to improve our service, this web site uses cookies. They cannot be used to identify you. Using this site implies an agreement to continue accepting them. For more details please see managing the cookies we use.  

Patients & Visitors



Pregnant woman holding up a picture of an ultrasound scan

On this page:

Find out more:

Please see the following document from NHS England:

Antenatal and Newborn Screening

We offer a full Antenatal and Newborn screening service, in line with recommendations from the National Screening Committee.

Follow this link for further screening information from GOV.UK (available in other languages):

It is important to see your midwife early in pregnancy; she will offer you blood tests for:
  • Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassaemia - inherited genetic conditions
  • Infectious Diseases - Syphilis, Hepatitis B and HIV. Early detection helps treat mum and prevent transmission to the baby

Antenatal scans

All pregnant women and people are offered a scan at around 12 weeks to accurately date the pregnancy. You may choose to have First Trimester screening for three chromosomal conditions, Down's, Edwards' and Patau's Syndromes at the time of the dating scan.

Should your pregnancy be more advanced than 14+1 weeks but less than 20 weeks and you are unable to have this screen, you will be offered a Quadruple test for Down's Syndrome.

A further scan is offered between 18 and 20+6 weeks to check the growth of your baby and that the anatomy is normal.

What is the SAFE test?

The SAFE test is a non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) for pregnant women and people which estimates the risk of the fetus having Downs, Edwards or Patau's syndrome. The SAFE test is an advanced screening test that is carried out on a small maternal blood sample. Pregnant women and people can expect test results to be available within 7-10 calendar days from sample receipt.

Pregnant women and people who have had a High chance 1st /2nd trimester screening result are eligible for a free NHS NIPT.

The RUH also offer a private NIPT service. Please contact us on the number provided below to discuss the costs.

What does SAFE screen for?

The SAFE test estimates the chance of a fetus having Down's syndrome (Trisomy 21), Edwards' syndrome (Trisomy 18) or Patau's syndrome (Trisomy 13). Trisomies occur when three, instead of the usual two, copies of a chromosome are present. Edwards' and Patau's syndromes are much rarer than Down's but are very serious and many babies that have one of these conditions do not survive.

Who can have the SAFE test?

  • Suitable for pregnant women and people who are at least 10 weeks pregnant
  • Suitable for all singleton and twin pregnancies
  • Suitable for IVF or surrogate pregnancies
  • Unsuitable for pregnant women and people with cancer or with a trisomy or who have undergone a blood transfusion within the last 3 months

SAFE test results

Our maternity screening department will call you with the results from the test.

Where can I get a SAFE test?

You can contact our Maternity Screening Department:

Further information

The SAFE test

Newborn screening

An initial newborn physical examination (NIPE) should be completed before your baby is 72 hours old. If you are worried this has not been completed you can call 01225 821409.

The newborn bloodspot screen is ideally carried out when your baby is 5 days old. The test involved a small heel prick to draw a small sample of blood. Normally this will be completed at first attempt, but on rare occasions we might need to repeat the heel prick to ensure quality of sample. The bloodspot screens for Sickle cell disease, Cystic fibrosis, congenital hypothyroidism and inherited metabolic diseases.

A newborn hearing screen is completed when your baby is 5 days of age along with the bloodspot screen. This is completed by screening champions on the ward or in the community.

Please see the following documents from GOV.UK:

Contact us

If you have any questions regarding antenatal screening we are very happy for you to contact the Maternity Screening Department:

Tell us about your experience

Antenatal Screening Questionnaires

If you have had your 20-22 week anomaly scan please complete the following questionnaires. Your feedback is important to us and will help us to ensure, that we can continue to provide expectant mums and families with the best possible services. Thank you from the Screening Team. To tell us about your experience click here:

Newborn Screening Questionnaire

If you have had your day 5 newborn bloodspot and hearing screen please complete the following questionnaire. Your feedback is important to us and will help us to ensure that we continue to provide the best possible service to the families we see. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

back to top