We offer a Down Syndrome test in the first trimester of pregnancy. The Nuchal Translucency test, or NT Scan, has two parts: A blood test from the pregnant mother’s arm and an ultrasound.
Neither parts of the Nuchal Translucency test have any risk to the baby. By combining the results of the two parts of the test, it is possible to identify if a pregnant woman is at increased risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome. By itself, the Nuchal Translucency test does not tell you whether or not the baby
has Down Syndrome. The NT scan is not a Down Syndrome test. It identifies women who should be tested to determine if their baby has the condition.
The blood test, also known as the Maternal Serum Screening Test, measures the amount of two different proteins called PAPP-A and beta HCG. These proteins occur naturally in the mother’s blood during pregnancy. A change in the level of these proteins may indicate that there is an increased risk that the baby has Down Syndrome.
The ultrasound will be done by a specially trained sonographer between 12 and 13 weeks of pregnancy. It is usually performed through the abdominal wall but sometimes it is necessary to do an internal (vaginal) scan. The ultrasound has no known harmful effects on the mother or the baby. The ultrasound allows measurement of the amount of fluid in the skin at the back of the baby’s neck. This measurement is called a nuchal translucency.
Should you have further questions about the NT Scan, please contact your physician.