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Foetal examinations during pregnancy

  • Service
  • Helsinki
  • Public service

During the pregnancy, the mother can participate in various examinations.

Foetal examinations

An expectant mother is referred for foetal examinations through the maternity clinic. Prenatal screenings carried out in the early stages of the pregnancy can reveal most foetuses afflicted with Down's syndrome.

First examination

The first examination is performed between pregnancy weeks 10 to 13+6. An ultrasound scan is carried out in the hospital where the baby is to be delivered. This is why the delivery hospital is chosen during the first maternity clinic appointment. The examination determines the duration of the pregnancy, number of foetuses and measurement of nuchal translucency. If the measurement of nuchal translucency is exceptionally high, this could indicate a chromosome abnormality. A blood test will also be taken from the expectant mother at the same time. If the expectant mother does not want this combined screening test (= ultrasound and blood test) or she cannot participate in the examinations during pregnancy weeks 10 to 13+6, she can have just the ultrasound scan during the pregnancy weeks 10 to 14. If the combined screening test during the first trimester was not performed, Down syndrome can also be screened for through serum screening between pregnancy weeks 15 to 16+6. The test results will be sent to your home.

Second examination

The second ultrasound is carried out between pregnancy weeks 19 and 21. This examination reviews the foetal structure and its development and inspects the placement of the placenta.

If abnormalities are suspected based on the screening test, further examinations are carried out in the foetal examination unit of the Women's Hospital of HUS.

The combined screening test is also the primary examination method for 40-year-old and older pregnant women.

Screening for Down syndrome during the first trimester

To whom and on what terms

The service is intended for citizens of Helsinki.

Basic information

The service is provided byCity of Helsinki
Responsible for the serviceCity of Helsinki
Area Helsinki
Available languagesFinnish, Swedish
Text edited by: City of Helsinki
Updated: 7/5/2020