The nuchal translucency test is also known as nuchal fold scan or NT and it is a prenatal test that is meant to inform your doctor about the chances for the baby to be affected by Down’s syndrome or some other kinds of chromosomal abnormalities or congenital heart problems.
Information about the test of nuchal translucency
The test is done with the help of an ultrasound to assess the clear space between the back of the neck and the tissue of the baby. This is because the babies with problems tend to have more fluid in this place in the first trimester and so the clear space is larger than normally.
You should have the test of nuchal translucency between weeks 11 and 14. In the majority of the cases the doctors also offer a blood test called first trimester combined screening. Just as any of the other screening tests, the goal of this one isn’t to give a diagnosis.
The main point of the nuchal translucency test is to determine the risks of the baby to be affected by certain kinds of problems and to help the parents decide whether they would like to have chorionic virus sampling, known as CVS or amniocentesis to know if the baby is really affected.
The test for nuchal translucency has been done in the U. S. starting with 1995 in the larger centers. This is because the doctors and the sonographers require special training and hi-tech equipment to be able to perform the test as it should be performed to achieve accurate results.
This is why the nuchal translucency test isn’t available at every center. Nonetheless there are more and more hospitals that offer the test and you should ask your doctor about this option in case you are interested and if you would like to make sure that the little one won’t be affected by health conditions.
The advantages of the test of nuchal translucency
As it has been mentioned before, the test lets you know about the chances of the baby being affected by birth defects at an early stage. The best thing about the test is that there are no associated risks of miscarriage, as in case you had a CVS and it isn’t invasive.
If the risks of having problems are low, you will be reassured by the nuchal translucency test. On the other hand, in case the risks are high, you will have the possibility to have some other tests to find out for sure whether the little one has problems even in the first trimester.
How to know what tests to have?
The officials suggest that all women should be offered different tests during the first and second trimester, including the test of nuchal translucence. You should find out about the advantages and disadvantages of the tests. If you feel like there is need for you to know more, you should talk to a genetic counselor.
No matter what your doctor may say, you are the one to choose whether to have the nuchal translucency test or not. Usually women prefer to have screening tests and then they decide whether they need diagnostic testing. Nonetheless it is also possible to start right with the diagnostic testing. Also there are some women who prefer not to have any tests at all.
How is the test of nuchal translucency done?
The first thing that the specialist does is to determine the age of the baby. Then he or she places the sensor on your belly and measures the thickness of the fluid. There is a lot to know about nuchal translucency test.