What tests are used to detect abnormalities in the baby?

What tests are used to detect abnormalities in the baby?

Foetal movements:

It is normal practice for some obstetricians to ask mothers to record their baby’s movements or “kicks”. Once the baby has kicked ten times the mother can stop the count for that day. If less than ten kicks are noted, she should notify her doctor or hospital.

Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) Test

AFP is a protein normally made by baby and passed in small amounts into the mothers’ blood. A higher or lower than normal level indicates the baby may be at risk of Downs syndrome, anencephaly or spina bifida. Further screening such as, ultrasound or amniocentesis gives more accurate information.

Triple Test

This is a blood test for Downs syndrome which combines the AFP result with levels of other blood chemicals and can indicate how likely a suspected abnormality might be.


This test may be done, when there is a suspected foetal abnormality.
An ultra sound scan is done first to check the position of baby. Following a local anaesthetic, a sample of amniotic fluid which surrounds baby is withdrawn and sent to the laboratory. This test also reveals the sex of the baby. If there is a family history of haemophilia or muscular dystrophy, a male infant can inherit the disease.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

This test can show up a number of disorders in the baby. Carried out in early pregnancy, it poses a small risk of miscarriage.
A CVS can indicate Downs syndrome, certain inherited diseases e.g. sickle cell anaemia or thalassaemia.