Nuchal translucency (NT) Ultrasound, Scan and Screening

Nuchal translucency (NT) Ultrasound

With a number of tests that are being done to diagnose various abnormalities during pregnancy, the Nuchal translucency scan is performed in cases when there is a suspect of the Down Syndrome. But before we proceed to know as to what this scan is all about, we need to know what Nuchal translucency is all about.

What is Nuchal Translucency?

Nuchal Translucency occurs where there is a collection of fluid at the back of your baby’s neck and this can be checked using ultrasound. This can be checked with an ultrasound during 11 weeks and 2 days and 14 weeks and one day of the pregnancy. The baby also needs to measure anywhere between 45mm and 84 mm.

Every baby has this fluid at the back of their neck but in some cases, the fluid is more and this is called as Down syndrome.

Why does one needs to go in for a Nuchal translucency Ultrasound?

All the women who are pregnant need to undergo the NT ultrasound so as to make sure that their baby is not suffering from the Down syndrome. It can also estimate the risk your baby might have from this syndrome. Apart from this scan, a CVS or also amniocentesis can help determine if there are any abnormalities but these tests at times also have a small risk which can lead to miscarriage.

So, before you choose tests like CVS, you doctor might want to check using an ultrasound if there is a chance of any syndrome and if there is any, you might as well be asked to go in for additional tests.

Unlike other scan, the Nuchal translucency screening has to be done during a specific time of the pregnancy. It can be done when it is 11 weeks and two days or when it is 14days and one day. So, this can be done even with your normal and routine scan. It is not recommended before 11 weeks as the baby is too tiny at that time and thus the needed results cannot be obtained.

The scan is performed on the tummy by using the normal ultrasound equipment and like the normal scan, you would be able to see the head, limbs, feet and hands and then the doctor would be able to check the Nuchal fluid on the back of the baby’s head. This is the time when the skin of the baby would look white and the liquid would look as black.

Not every baby has the risk of the Down syndrome, the doctor would suggest for one if there is any change in the regular tests that happen. In cases when there is a high risk of Down syndrome, then you would be referred to a specialist and they will in detail conduct more tests and scans and explore all the possible options.

Though Down syndrome is not very common to occur, but you need not panic in case there is an occurrence of same. With technology reaching new heights, you can now see a possibility of cure for almost everything.