The Emmerdale actress, who plays Leyla Harding, said the positive pregnancy test came as a shock, as she and Arsher had only started trying for a baby a few weeks earlier.
“To be honest, I was absolutely terrified when I saw the test was positive,” she told OK! magazine. “I burst into tears.
“It took a few weeks before I got my head around it but, once I did, I was filled with joy.”
But there is one person for whom the pregnancy was not a surprise, Shahidi’s Emmerdale co-star Charley Webb, who guessed she might be pregnant before Shahidi had even taken the test.
“We had been working together and she called me when I got home and said my boobs gave it away,” Shahidi explained.
Shahidi and Ali both wanted to find out the sex of their baby early, so they had a NIPT [non-invasive prenatal testing] blood test at 12 weeks.
What is the NIPT blood test?
The test can determine a baby’s sex because there is a small amount of the baby’s DNA in the mother’s blood. If Y chromosome DNA sequences are present in the blood sample, that would indicate the mother is carrying a boy.
Tests to determine fetal sex at this stage in pregnancy are intended to be used by mothers who are the carrier of an altered gene for a serious condition linked to the chromosome.
Or if both parents are carriers of alterations for congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH).