Nuchal Translucency Scan
The 12 week Nuchal Translucency Scan can be performed to assess the risks of Down's, Edward’s, Patau’s syndrome and to diagnose certain major fetal abnormalities.
This is the first stage at which the fetus can be seen in greater detail. This scan confirms that there is a heartbeat, and the number of fetuses. The baby’s head, trunk, arms, legs, hands and feet can be seen and we will also look at the placenta, amniotic fluid and umbilical cord.
What is currently offered by the NHS?
Pregnant woman are offered two routine ultrasound scans: One at approximately 12 weeks and the other at 20 weeks of pregnancy. As the 12 Nuchal scan has strict time restraints (11+2 – 13+6) we often find that women come to have a scan with us as a result of the following:
- An appointment was not made for the correct date
- GP failed to send a referral through
- Fetal position was unfavorable and the Nuchal was not measured
- To check for a nasal bone
- Second opinion
- More detailed scan
How is the scan done?
- A Nuchal Translucency Scan is performed between 11 weeks 2 days to 13 weeks 6 days weeks of pregnancy.
- This scan is usually performed transabdominally but in a few cases it may be necessary to do the examination transvaginally.
What can this scan detect?
Each woman will be given an individual risk for her pregnancy. This is calculated by taking into account certain factors including:-
- Age of the mother
- Thickness of fluid behind the neck of the fetus
- Presence or absence of the fetal nasal bone
- Fetal heart rate
- Blood flow through the tricuspid valve of the fetal heart
- Blood flow through the ductus venosus in the fetal liver
- Presence or absence of any physical abnormalities
- Level of two hormones (free ß-hCG and PAPP-A) in the mother's blood
What other information can I expect?
- Assess viability
- Confirm the number of babies
- Estimated due date
Is there someone I can talk to about the outcome of my scan?
Yes, a consultant will be available to talk to if you have additional questions, concerns or if you receive a high risk result. Further tests including the Harmony Test or invasive tests such as a CVS or Amniocentesis can also be explained in depth.
What are the preparations for this scan?
There are no particular preparations.
Consultant or Sonographer?
- If you are having a normal pregnancy, then in most cases a scan by one of our experienced sonographers is advisable. All our sonographers are fully qualified and accredited, so you are in safe hands.
- If however, you are experiencing complications with your pregnancy or need a second opinion, a scan with our consultant is recommended.
Is it easy to make an appointment?
We offer morning, afternoon and occasionally evening appointments during the week as well as Saturday appointments. We have a wide range of availability therefore short notice appointments can be easily arranged.
What you will receive:
- 30 minute scan
- Blood test
- Results are ready approximately 2 hours after the scan and blood test
- indication of absence of major malformations
- A report to file with your maternity notes.
- A video recording sent to an email of your choice via iBabyScan
How to Prepare for your scan
- A moderately full bladder will improve the viability of the scan done over the tummy.
What is an iBabyScan?
The Birth Company is the first clinic in London to offer iBabyScan, allowing you to share your pregnancy ultrasound with friends and family wherever they are in the world. This optional recording can be shared with 1-click via Email, Facebook and Twitter. Simply tell your sonographer that you would like an iBabyScan – it only takes an additional one or two minutes.
What if my results show a high risk?
The Harmony Test can be done after 10 weeks of pregnancy. This test is non-invasive and involves an ultrasound scan and simple and safe blood test that has a detection rate of >99% for Down’s syndrome.
The only way to know for certain if the fetus has a chromosomal abnormality is to have an invasive test such as chorion villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis. These tests carry a risk of miscarriage of approximately 1% and nowadays we are keen to avoid them and therefore use the Harmony Test.
What is the next scan following an early pregnancy scan?
If you receive a low risk result your next scan will be a reassurance scan, sexing scan or the 20 week anomaly scan.