First Trimester Screening

First trimester screenings usually take place between 11 to 13 weeks of pregnancy. Its main purpose is to detect abnormalities in the baby’s chromosomes that might cause Down syndrome, Edwards’ Syndrome, and Patau’s Syndrome. A physician will look at your age, blood, and ultrasound to narrow down your baby’s risks of any chromosome defects.  There are two parts to first trimester screenings — a blood test and ultrasound. These are also often referred to as “Nuchal Scan” or “Nuchal Translucency Screening.” 


Nuchal Translucency Screening – What is it?


Nuchal Translucency Screening, also commonly referred to as an NT Screening, is a specialized form of ultrasound. Typically this screening will happen between the first 11 to 13 weeks of pregnancy. All babies have fluid around their necks, but those with extra fluid may have chromosome problems. NT Screenings are usually paired with a blood test to provide informative results. 


When should I get an NT Screening?


If you will be getting an NT screening, it is essential that it is done between your first 11 to 13 weeks of pregnancy. After that, the tissue can harden, which makes it harder to detect chromosome defects. 


How does the procedure work?


A sonographer will find out the age of the fetus first. Then he or she will measure the thickness of the nuchal fold. The mother’s age, baby’s age, and nuchal fold will allow the physician to determine whether there is a possibility of a chromosome defect. Although the test cannot give you a confirmed diagnosis, it can determine the likelihood of any defects. 


What happens if it comes back positive?


If the test comes back positive, you will have the option to pursue diagnostic testing. However, you should talk to your doctor before you pursue testing to see what suits your body the best.


Are there risks linked to NT Scans?


Nuchal Scans or Nuchal Translucency Screenings do not cause harm to you or your baby. However, it’s important not to put extra pressure on yourself while testing or waiting for results. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns related to the NT scans.