antenatal screening methods

Last reviewed 08/2018

These include:

  • screening for fetal chromosome abnormalities
  • alpha fetoprotein screening for neural tube defects
  • screening tests based on alpha fetoprotein and other markers such as the triple test
  • screening for chromosomal or structural abnormalities using Ultrasound

Centres offer a routine Mid pregnancy anomaly ultrasound scan at 18+0-20+6 weeks (18 weeks - 20 weeks plus 6 days).


  • in the UK, maternal AFP is assessed in the context of other markers e .g. the quadruple test (hCG, AFP, uE3, inhibin A) to give a more accurate predictor of risk. However as many Trusts in England move to the offer of combined screening for Down's syndrome, AFP will no longer be measured and the screening test of choice for spina bifida and anencephaly will be the mid pregnancy ultrasound scan