antenatal screening programme


Pre-eclampsia is a complication which affects mothers. It occurs during the second half of pregnancy, labour or the first few days after birth. It involves high blood pressure and too much protein in the urine. Some people may experience oedema (swelling as well).

Read more about pre-eclampsia on the NHS website.

UK NSC screening recommendation Based on the last UK NSC review of this condition that occurred in November 2022.

Screening is not currently recommended for this condition.

The UK NSC restated its position that population screening for pre-eclampsia is not recommended.

However, the UK NSC will investigate the harms and benefits of introducing a population screening programme for pre-term pre-eclampsia, the more severe form of the condition.

The consequences of pre-eclampsia are different depending on when it happens during pregnancy. The review divided the evidence into 2 groups: pre-term pre-eclampsia and term pre-eclampsia.

Screening for all pre-eclampsia and term pre-eclampsia is not recommended because there is:

  • no test that is reliable at predicting mothers who will develop pre-eclampsia in these populations

  • not enough evidence for a treatment to prevent term pre-eclampsia in mothers at risk

There may be enough evidence to support screening for pre-term pre-eclampsia because there is evidence:

  • to support a possible screening test in this population that uses maternal risk factors together with results from prenatal ultrasound and blood

  • from one good quality trial that a low dose (150 mg) of aspirin given from 11 to 14 weeks of pregnancy until 36 weeks is safe, and can reduce the risk of developing preterm pre-eclampsia in mothers shown to be at risk

The UK NSC recommended that more work should be done to evaluate the harms and benefits of a screening programme in this population because the aspirin evidence was only found in one clinical trial.

Supporting documents from the 2023 review

Evidence review
This document provides the evidence on which the current UK NSC recommendation is based.

This document summarises the review process including the public consultation comments.

Supporting documents from the 2011 review

In 2011, the UK NSC did not recommend screening for this condition.

Review cycle

Date previous review completed: 2023

Next review estimated to be completed: 2026 to 2027.

To see previous evidence reviews, visit the UK NSC archive.

Organisations interested in Pre-eclampsia

These organisations have expressed interest in this recommendation and may submit responses to evidence reviews.

List of organisations

If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us.