The impact of fetal medicine practice is obviously directly influenced by the detection of fetal anomalies in the general population and therefore referred for an opinion. Women who are at high risk of a fetal anomaly are usually referred directly to a fetal medicine unit, but within a low-risk population detection of an anomaly is based on antenatal screening programmes. These are primarily based on screening for Down's syndrome, blood group antibody screening and second trimester anomaly scan screening.
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on antenatal care in the UK stipulate that all women should be offered a dating scan between 10 and 16 weeks as well as some form of screening for Down's syndrome either based on first or second trimester screening or a combination of both.
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The first trimester is very important for the mother and the baby. For most women it is common to find out about their pregnancy after they have missed their menstrual cycle. Since, not all women note their menstrual cycle and dates of intercourse, it may cause slight confusion about the exact date of conception. That is why most women find out that they are pregnant only after one month of pregnancy.