Nuchal Translucency Screening Test During Pregnancy

What is nuchal translucency screening?

Nuchal translucency screening is a test that may be done during pregnancy. The test uses ultrasound to take pictures of the baby. It looks at and measures an area of skin and fluid collection on the back of the baby’s neck. This area of the neck is called the nuchal area. The test is used to check the baby’s risk for Down syndrome, heart defects, and other birth defects.

If test results show that your baby does have a problem, your healthcare provider will talk to you about your choices for treatment. The information can help you decide how to manage a pregnancy with a baby affected by the problem.

When is it used?

The test is done between the 11th and 14th weeks of pregnancy.

Your healthcare provider may advise you to have this test if:

  • You will be 35 or older on the baby’s due date.
  • You or the baby’s father have a family history of genetic problems.
  • You have been pregnant before with a child who had a birth defect.
  • Other tests show the baby might have a problem.

How do I prepare for this test?

You will need to drink a lot of fluids to fill your bladder before the test. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.

What happens during the test?

During the test, an ultrasound sensor is placed on your belly or in your vagina. Your healthcare provider will use the ultrasound pictures to measure the area on the back of the baby’s neck. Your provider may make other measurements as well.

What happens after the test?

Your healthcare provider will review the test results. If the test finds a possible problem, your provider may recommend an amniocentesis to check the results. When you have amniocentesis, a needle is used to get samples of the fluid around the baby.

Ask your healthcare provider:

  • How and when you will hear your test results
  • How long it will take to recover
  • What activities you should avoid and when you can return to your normal activities
  • How to take care of yourself at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.

What are the risks of this test?

This test has no risks for you or the baby.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2013-10-21
Last reviewed: 2014-10-16
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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