Once your pregnancy has been confirmed by your GP you will be referred to your local maternity unit and will be monitored closely throughout your pregnancy by both your GP and your assigned hospital consultant. The monitoring will be for a number of conditions which can, if left untreated, have serious implications for both mother and baby such as pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition affecting both mother and baby, the symptoms of which include high blood pressure and swollen ankles.
There are also a number of routine screening processes that the NHS offers to pregnant women in England. Antenatal screening is a way of checking whether your unborn baby has an abnormality or condition such as Down’s Syndrome. Screening for Down’s Syndrome is carried out through both a blood test and an ultrasound scan. An ultrasound scan is routinely undertaken at around the 12th week of pregnancy and is usually known as your dating scan and another at around 20 weeks – this one will usually be to check for structural abnormalities in your baby such as Spina Bifida.
Cystic Fibrosis affects the internal organs, especially the lungs, pancreas and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. Cystic Fibrosis is a potentially life-threatening, genetically inherited disease. If a couple are both carriers of the Cystic Fibrosis gene, the baby has a one in four chance of having the disease. There is no routine UK-wide antenatal screening for Cystic Fibrosis. However, for those who know they are at risk, an antenatal test is available – a chorionic biopsy carried out at around nine weeks after conception or amniocentesis at about 15 weeks – to identify if the unborn baby has Cystic Fibrosis. (Source: NCT.org.uk)