antenatal screening programme

Vasa praevia

Vasa praevia is a rare but serious health condition. It occurs when the blood vessels from the placenta or umbilical cord block the birth canal. This causes the blood vessels to tear during birth and has serious consequences for the mother and her baby.

Read more about vasa praevia on the NHS website.

UK NSC screening recommendation Based on the last UK NSC review of this condition that occurred in June 2023.

Screening is not currently recommended for this condition.

Screening women for vasa praevia during pregnancy is not recommended because:

  • it is not known how many babies are affected by it in the UK
  • it is not known how accurate screening tests are at detecting it
  • screening may mean some women are offered an early caesarean when they do not need one
  • some women may be reassured by false tests and still have a problem during delivery

Options for screening for vasa praevia remain under-explored in the UK and there remains very limited evidence on which to base recommendations. A targeted approach which builds on current practice, such as the detection of low-lying placenta at mid-term, may provide a starting point for considering a wider antenatal detection strategy.

Coversheet for 2023 review replaced in February 2024, as incomplete version was previously uploaded.

Supporting documents from the 2023 review

Evidence map
This document investigates whether a more detailed review can be conducted based on the available evidence.

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

Supporting documents from the 2017 review

In 2017, the UK NSC did not recommend screening for this condition.

Evidence summary vasa praevia (2017)
This document provides the evidence on which the current UK NSC recommendation is based.

UK NSC coversheet & consultation responses Vasa praevia (2017)
This document summarises the review process including the public consultation comments.

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 Vasa praevia

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.