Prenatal screening

The principle of organising prenatal screening tests to find out whether the pregnancy is developing normally is that all pregnant women are offered voluntary, free-of-charge, uniform and high-quality screening tests and, when necessary, further tests on an equal basis.

The aim is also to help plan the right treatment for the foetus or child and to reduce morbidity and mortality among newborn children. Expectant parents are also given information on screening, the different alternatives regarding screening and further tests.

Provisions on screenings are laid down by a decree.

Screenings offered by wellbeing services counties to pregnant women

The wellbeing services counties are required to offer the following screenings to pregnant women:

  1. a general ultrasound scan during early pregnancy in week 10+0 to 13+6
  2. a screening for chromosomal abnormalities after week 10+0 of the pregnancy 
  3. an ultrasound scan for the detection of any severe structural abnormalities in week 18+0 to 21+6 of the pregnancy or after week 24+0 of the pregnancy.

If foetal abnormality is suspected, the pregnant woman will be offered further testing (e.g. to examine the chromosomes of the foetus by taking a sample of the placenta or amniotic fluid).

Participation in screening is voluntary

Professionals in the field of maternity healthcare must give appropriate and impartial information to expectant parents on the principles of screening for foetal abnormalities, screening methods, what the examination results mean and on further examinations.

Participation in the screening examinations is voluntary. If the screening indicates a risk for abnormality, pregnant women can decide for themselves whether they want to participate in further examinations.

Further information