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The maternity unit at St Peter's Hospital is offering a new, non-invasive prenatal test, known as 'SAFE', to evaluate with remarkable accuracy whether a pregnancy is at risk of certain chromosomal conditions, such as Down's syndrome.

Specialist Midwife for Screening and Fetal Medicine, Angie Bowles, explains: "All pregnant women are currently offered a 'combined test' between 10 and 14 weeks of pregnancy. This involves a blood test and measurement of the fluid at the back of the baby's neck (nuchal translucency) during the dating ultrasound scan. The results of these are then combined to estimate the risk of the baby being born with Down's, Edward's or Patau's syndrome. The vast majority of women will get a 'lower risk' result (meaning there is less than 1 in 150 chance of their baby having one of these conditions) and they can relax and not worry about it again."

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