In case you want to know about nuchal translucency screening, you should know that it is a prenatal test that helps your health care provider assess the risks that the baby may have Down syndrome or other kinds of chromosomal abnormalities along with congenital heart problems.
Information about the NT test
The good news about this test is that it is non-invasive. It uses the ultrasound for measuring the translucent space found in the back of the baby’s neck. The babies who have problems usually gather fluids in the back of their neck in the first trimester and so the clear space becomes larger.
It is important for the scan of NT to take place between weeks 11 and 14 of pregnancy. During this time the bases of the baby’s neck is still transparent. The test is usually done along an evaluation of the nasal bone and a blood test and it is called combined screening.
Since this is a screening test, the NT screening won’t offer you a diagnosis. It can only assess the chances of the baby of having certain kinds of problems. This can help you decide whether you want a chorionic virus sampling or an amniocentesis to know if the baby is truly affected.
In our days the screening of NT is widely available and it is offered to each pregnant woman during the first trimester. Remember that in order to perform the test there is need for special equipment and training. As a result it might not be available at the smaller institutions.
Advantages of the nuchal fold scan
The good thing about this scan is that it offers you information about the chances of the baby having chromosomal problems during the early stages of pregnancy and there is no chance for the test to cause a miscarriage, unlike in case of CVS.
If the results of the scan of nuchal fold show low risks, you will have some reassurance. If the test shows that the chances of a problem are high, you will have the possibility to consider CVS which will tell you if the baby has any problems during the first trimester of pregnancy.
How is the NT testing done?
The first step is for the sonographer to determine the gestational age. This is done by measuring the baby from crown to rump. The specialist also checks whether the baby has the right size for the gestational age. The he or she uses a special sensor, known as the transducer on the abdomen of the mother.
During the testing of NT the sonographer finds the nuchal fold area and this appears on the monitor. The thickness of the nuchal fold is measured using calipers on the screen. At the end of the test you will know whether there is anything wrong with the little one.
It is always a good idea to have a nuchal translucency ultrasound and keep in mind that the test is available only for a limited period of time.