26/09/2017 10:45 BST | Updated 26/09/2017 10:49 BST

Emmerdale's Roxy Shahidi Is Pregnant With Her First Child

Shahidi found out the sex of her baby when just 12 weeks pregnant.

Roxy Shahidi has announced she is pregnant and she and her husband Arsher Ali have already found out they’re expecting a baby girl.

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.”

Karwai Tang via Getty Images

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 NIPT blood test is available on the NHS for women who are at an increased likelihood of having a child with Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome or Patau’s syndrome.

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).