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Nuchal Scan (Pregnancy)

Nuchal translucency is the appearance of the space (fluid) in the neck area of the baby between 11 and 14 weeks.

Findings in over 100,000 pregnancies have shown that if there is more than the normal amount, the risk of the baby having a chromosome problem is raised. At HMT we use a computer programme that combines the NT measurement and your age to estimate your risk of having a Down's Syndrome baby.

Since 1992 when the 11 - 14 week scan, was first introduced, this scan is now offered to screen for Down's Syndrome in more than 200 centres in 41 countries throughout the world. 80% of babies with chromosome abnormalities will have increased NT measurement. However, around 1 in 20 women with normal chromosomes will also have a raised NT measurement and may opt for an invasive test to exclude Down's. The detection rate for Down's of NT screening (80%) compares favourably to that achieved with screening based on a maternal blood test (about 60%).

At the beginning of pregnancy, the risk that the baby has a chromosome (the structure that contains our genes) abnormality is higher than at birth because many affected babies die naturally during pregnancy.

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