• Down syndrome;
  • screening;
  • first trimester;
  • womens' preference



To determine the knowledge of pregnant women about prenatal tests, and what tests they would choose if offered. Also, the preference of pregnant women for second-trimester or first-trimester screening was assessed.

Patients and methods

Pregnant women receiving antenatal care in a decentralized primary care system (n=80), and pregnant women that were offered a prenatal diagnosis at the Academic Medical Centre (n=195), were asked to complete a questionnaire.


The response rate was over 80%. Most women in both groups preferred a screening test for Down syndrome to be performed in the first trimester of pregnancy. A combination of nuchal translucency measurement and first-trimester serum screening was the option of choice. The screening possibilities for Down syndrome were less well known to the women in the low-risk group compared with the women in the high-risk group. The offer of a prenatal screening test would have been declined by more than 30% of women at low risk for carrying a fetus with Down syndrome.


Our results show that women prefer screening for Down syndrome to be performed in the first trimester of pregnancy, using both serum and ultrasound tests. In women at low risk for Down syndrome the knowledge of prenatal screening methods was less, as well as the acceptance of prenatal screening being lower. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.