Information and support in one place.

During the antenatal period, several checks are undertaken to try and detect possible health complications in the baby, arising from chromosome abnormalities. These tests might include blood tests and ultrasound scans. These investigations will test for conditions such as Down’s Syndrome, Edward’s Syndrome and Patau’s syndrome,

The purpose of such tests is to ensure earlier, more effective treatment for the baby and mother, in addition to the ability to make informed decisions.

If initial screening tests indicate that there is a higher risk of the baby having a genetic condition, doctors may offer more focused diagnostic tests, for example, an amniocentesis. This is when a long, thin needle is inserted into the mother’s abdominal wall, guided by an ultrasound image. The needle is passed into the amniotic sac that surrounds the baby and a small sample of amniotic fluid is taken for analysis. This type of test does carry risks – however, antenatal doctors and midwives will provide more detailed advice about this. The NHS website also provides a useful overview of different tests available and what to expect.

If a genetic diagnosis is formally reached, care in pregnancy and birth should be adapted to ensure specialist support is on hand.

Support organisations and charities

ARC is the only national charity helping parents and healthcare professionals through antenatal testing and its consequences, and continuing that support to those parents who have made that difficult choice and have had the traumatic experience of terminating their pregnancy.

At ARC, we provide much-needed non-directive information and support to parents before, during and after antenatal testing; when they are told their baby has an anomaly; when they are making decisions about continuing with or ending a pregnancy, and when they are coping with complex and painful issues after making a decision, including bereavement.

Our helpline is answered by trained staff Monday to Friday, 10.00am-5.30pm.
Helpline – 020 7713 7486
Email – [email protected]

Related support.

View all advice

Maternal mental health

Many women will seek help for their child who might have suffered an injury but often minimise the importance of their mental health.

Support for partners and families

Witnessing a traumatic birth or living with a birth injury can have a devastating effect on partners, siblings, and other family members.

Legal advice.

The birth of a child should be a time of happiness, excitement and celebration. Sadly, when negligent mistakes are made by medical professionals the result is pain, heartache and frustration for parents and the wider family.

If you believe that you have a birth injury negligence claim in relation to any wrong or mistreatment you received during birth, then please contact a member of our medical negligence specialist team today. We are dedicated to your best interests and can advise you on how to proceed. If after talking to us you decide not to take matters further you are under no obligation to do so and you will not be charged for our initial advice session.

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