With the constant advancement in medical sciences and technologies, it has become much easier to check the health of the baby in the womb/
From 3D printing your baby’s ultrasound imaging, to detect any underlying health concerns the baby might have before it is even born – the field of medicine has it all.
One such area of advancement is the NT Scan – also known as the nuchal translucency scan. In the first trimester of pregnancy, a nuchal translucency (NT) test is an ultrasound procedure.
It assists in determining your baby’s vulnerability to congenital disorders like Down syndrome. It is the most effective when done in combination with your first-trimester screening blood test, as it provides your healthcare practitioner with supporting data to determine any underlying conditions in the baby.
Want to know more about the nuchal translucency scan or what is NT scan in pregnancy, how it works, and its side effects? Read on to find out more about NT scans.
Table of Contents
What is a Nuchal Translucency Scan in Pregnancy?
A nuchal translucency or NT scan in pregnancy is a simple ultrasound done during the first trimester of the pregnancy. This test allows for the measure of fluid build-up behind the baby’s neck. Although a small amount of fluid is normal, an over-secretion is a cause for concern.
With the help of a nuchal translucency scan or NT scan, doctors can better determine if the baby has a congenital heart condition, Down Syndrome, Patau syndrome, or Edwards syndrome. The risk varies depending on the level of fluid build-up.
Is NT Scan necessary during pregnancy?
Though the NT scan is offered to everyone, especially older women since the chances of complications are higher. Multiple studies have proven that older mothers are more likely to deliver babies with chromosomal abnormalities. Although, anyone can have complications with their pregnancies. Hence, it is advised to opt for an NT scan in pregnancy.
How is a Nuchal Translucency Scan done?
An NT scan is performed during the first trimester of your pregnancy. Your healthcare provider will administer the test as an abdominal ultrasound or a vaginal ultrasound.
They will first spread ultrasound gel on your stomach and abdomen and move a transducer across your uterus to get the imaging and measurements. Measurements of the fluid-filled space behind your baby’s neck will be measured in millimeters.
NT Scan during pregnancy video
Watch this video by senior gynecologist Dr. Deepthi Jammi talk in detail about the NT scan here
Is NT Scan during pregnancy safe for baby?
The simple answer is -Yes . NT Scan in pregnancy does not cause any harm to you or your baby. Nor does it cause miscarriage. NT scans are performed by trained professionals and are completely safe for both the mother as well as the baby.
What is a normal NT Scan result?
What qualifies as a normal NT scan in pregnancy varies slightly across various healthcare organizations. However, the most commonly agreed-upon level is 3 millimeters. If the number is higher, your doctor might do additional testing to analyze the baby’s chance of developing chromosomal abnormalities or congenital disorders.
What to do if NT Scan is not normal?
If your NT scan result turns out abnormal, your healthcare provider will further recommend some tests to understand your baby’s health better and explain all your medical options to help you make informed decisions.
NT Scan Vs Anomaly Scan
How is an NT scan different from an Anomaly Scan? The NT scan is a type of ultrasound that is used to assess your developing baby’s risk of having Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. Whereas, an anomaly scan looks for any abnormalities in your baby’s body parts.
NT Scan Vs Double Marker Test
NT scans and the Double Marker Tests are always combined during testing to ensure maximum accuracy in defecting any abnormalities. Prenatal Down Syndrome is detected in 70% of cases using the nuchal translucency scan.
The double marker test clearly identifies 60% of prenatal Down Syndrome cases. The nuchal translucency scan and the double marker test, when combined, detect 90 percent of prenatal Down Syndrome cases.
What is Nuchal Fold Thickness?
The Nuchal Fold refers to the tissue area behind a fetus’s neck. During an NT scan in pregnancy, this thickness is measured. This helps doctors scan for Down Syndrome or any other chromosomal or congenital complications.
What does an abnormal Nuchal Translucency Scan result mean?
An abnormal nuchal translucency does not necessarily mean that your baby has a congenital disorder or Down Syndrome.
An abnormal NT scan reading only means that your baby may be at a higher risk of these complications. In the case of abnormal readings, your healthcare provider will order additional blood tests to get a more accurate assessment.
How many times is NT Scan done during pregnancy?
An NT scan is performed between 11 to 14 weeks of pregnancy, any tests conducted after this time frame may not yield accurate results.
What if NT Scan is missed?
If you missed your appointment for the NT scan, you can still request your doctor for another one. However, it is important that you take the test between 11 to 14 weeks of pregnancy to ensure accuracy in results.
How long does an NT Scan Take?
Similar to your regular ultrasounds, an NT scan can take anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes depending on the position of the baby and acquiring all the necessary data and imagining.
In terms of test results, in most cases, your NT scan results will be ready on the same day. However, if you had any additional tests such as your blood test done, the results may take two to three days.
A Final Note
The likelihood that your child has a congenital or genetic issue can be assessed via a nuchal translucency (NT) scan. Do not become alarmed if your results are irregular. NT tests are screens, and abnormal results indicate the need for more testing.
There is still a chance that you will give birth to a healthy child. You can discuss with your healthcare practitioner the implications of your test results and their suggested course of action. Talking over your options and the advantages and disadvantages of additional testing with a genetic counselor may also be helpful.