Nuchal Translucency Scans


The first time I heard this test was suggested I panicked.  I admit I was a complete wreck.  I wondered why my OB would tell me he needed me to have it done.  Then he told me what it is and why he suggests it for me.

As you already know I am a 37 year old woman.  What you don’t know is that before this baby I was thin and muscular and very very healthy.  Once we got my knocked up though I was scared to death.

The NT Scan is a test that is done around the 11th – 14th week of your pregnancy – this test is done to tell you a PRELIMINARY evaluation of your chances of having a child with Down’s Syndrome, Turner’s Syndrome, Trisomy 21, 18, 13 or Triploidy.

There is not 100% accuracy with this test but the better the results the less chances that you will be advised to have the additional invasive tests such as the amniocentisis which is performed by a long thin needle being inserted into your womb to extract a smple of amniotic fluid or the Chorionic Villus Sampling where they will insert a needle into the placenta either through the abdominal wall or through the cervical for a sample of the blood.  Both of these tests are more risky as far as miscarriage inducement is concerned and can – if not done by a highly experienced doctor – result in the loss of your baby.

So all in all this test is a great start for you to see what you are going to be choosing to do as far as genetic counseling is concerned. I chose this test because of the simplicity and the lack of risk to my baby.

So during this test and while they are looking at your not so small bean baby in an ultrasound, they are measuring the amount of fluid around the neck.  Babies that exhibit high levels of this fluid are more likely to have any of the genetic chromosomal abnormalities listed above.  In addition to the simple measurement which should be under 3MM to be in the normal range, you will get a small amount of blood drawn from the tip of your finger.  Just a little poke and a blood spot added to the five small circles on a piece of paper.

Once this is done you will wait to hear back in about a week or so what your odds are for each of the testable genetic flaws.  The will either call you or you will – as I had to – call them and hound them for the odds….

Mine were decent for my age 1 in 838 for Down’s and most of the others were 1 in 15,000+.

I was thrilled and decided not to move on the other tests due to the risks involved.  Remember ladies these tests are your choice – not to be forced upon you by a doctor looking to score from your insurance.  I was practically given attitude for declining these tests.  My former obstetrician was a fool to try forcing tests on me.

All of these tests are a personal option for you.  If you are a worrier and need to know that things are ok or would consider termination if there was something very wrong with your embryo then I would say get the NT Scan and move forward on the CVS Testing.  These give you the option for termination.  Amniocentisis is done so late that termination is rarely an option.

Happy testing ladies and remember you are the captain in this ship still.