What Is a Maternal Blood Screening?

When a woman is pregnant, they get plenty of tests done, such as blood pressure checks, urine tests, and many other types of tests, to ensure the safety of the baby, as well as the mother. All of these tests give a picture of what is happening inside the mother’s body.

Some prenatal tests can actually help you find out whether your baby suffers from certain health conditions such as genetic issues or birth defects. In fact, one of the most important tests is one that checks for signs of Down syndrome, in older pregnant women.

Of course, as a mother, you wish to have a healthy baby, but because life is unpredictable, its always wise to be safe. Having a screening done will help you save the life of your unborn baby, even before delivery. Read on to learn more about this.

What Is a Maternal Blood Screening?
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Why Are These Tests Important?

These tests are extremely vital for a pregnant woman, they also help health care professionals understand exactly what is happening in the mother’s body. As a pregnant woman, you will get several tests during your pregnancy, and the health conditions they check are listed below.

Birth Defects

These are health conditions that may be present at birth. They usually change the shape or the functioning of one or more parts of the baby’s body. Birth defects can also cause the baby to have some overall health complications. 

Chromosomal and Genetic Conditions 

These are conditions that are caused by changes in the chromosomes or genes. Genes are part of the body’s cells that store instructions about how the body works and grows. A chromosome is a structure in the cell that holds the genes.

Genetic conditions, include Cystic Fibrosis, heart defects, and sickle cell diseases. One of the most common chromosomal conditions as we have mentioned above is Down syndrome, and this is usually passed from parent to child, although it can happen on its own. 

What Is Maternal Blood Screening?

This is also known as Maternal Serum Screening and it is a blood test that is done on pregnant women who wish to know the chances of having a baby that has a chromosome condition, such as Down syndrome. 

The serum screening also provides plenty of additional information concerning your pregnant health, such as your risk of developing Early Onset Pre-eclampsia.

How Is it Done?

There are two main types of Serum Screening tests that are available to women. The first one is Combined First Trimester Screening – CFTS, and the other one is the Second Trimester Maternal Serum Screening.

Combined First Trimester Screening

This is usually performed between the 9+0 and the 13+6 weeks of gestation. This is a combined test that seeks to provide information on the risk of having your pregnancy affected by a chromosome condition such as Down syndrome.

Second Maternal Serum Screening 

What Is a Maternal Blood Screening?
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This is actually a single blood test that is performed between the 14 and 20 weeks of gestation. It is however best to be done between the 15 and 17 weeks. 

The results are usually combined with the patient’s maternal age, gestation period, and weight, so they can estimate the chances of the pregnancy being affected by a chromosome condition.


Maternal screening is used to help pregnancies that may have a high chance of getting affected by the chromosome condition. These conditions are usually caused by having a missed or extra chromosome in the developing baby.

It is advisable that all mothers should get these tests done. They can make the difference between having a healthy baby, and one that will suffer for the rest of their lives.