The nuchal translucency test, often called as the NT test ultrasound, refers to the collection of fluid under the skin at the back of the baby’s neck. It is the amount of this fluid that Nuchal translucency scan aims to measure.
This scan is usually carried out between 11 – 14 weeks into the pregnancy, but is not very useful after the 14th week. The scan can play a very important role in determining birth effects (if any) such as the Down syndrome (in case of high nuchal translucency), abnormalities and even heart problems. This test is usually done in combination with a blood test.
In the nuchal translucency scan, the sonologist measures the baby’s nasal bone and as well the fluid present at the back of the baby’s neck.
While the screening is mostly optional, it is quite important. When awaiting the results of the screening, it is helpful for the parents to discuss what will be done if the baby is detected with a chromosome abnormality such as Down syndrome. The NT test ultrasound is able to pick up almost 77 percent of the babies with an abnormality and Down syndrome. The accuracy of the scan increases further when it is done along with the blood test.
This scan is also considered important for women who are over 35 years old since the since the risk of chromosomal abnormalities increases with maternal age.
Apart from detecting the chromosomal abnormalities, the NT test ultrasound also helps in:
The scan takes only about 20-30 minutes.
The normal nuchal translucency range is:
At 11 weeks: up to 2 mm
At 13 weeks: up to 2.8 mm
In a private hospital, the NT ultrasound cost may go up to INR 2000. However, in government hospitals, the cost is nominal.
This test, although recommended to most women, is an optional test. Some women prefer to get this test done in order to be prepared for any abnormalities in the pregnancy. On the other hand, some pregnant women may not want to get the test done since its results may lead to stress and wouldn’t really change anything for the mother.