NT scan - THE most important scan during pregnancy

Know why an NT scan is important

Pregnancy scanningMany women miss out on the early viability scan if they fail to pick up the signals soon enough and the nuchal translucency scan or the NT scan gets to become the first pregnancy scan for them. This scan is done sometime between the 11th and 13th week. If you have missed on the viability scan, not to worry NT scan also called as the first trimester scan will give you a detailed health status about your baby and your pregnancy too. The results of the NT scan is very important to decide on the course of your pregnancy and how your pregnancy would progress further.

What is the aim of the scan:

  • To calculate the expected date of the delivery. Calculations are done measuring the size of the foetus. 'This is relevant for women who cannot recollect their last date of menstruation date or have an irregular cycle. Also for mothers who have conceived whilst breastfeeding or soon after she stopped taking the pill,' says Dr Dr Shantala Vadeyar, consultant obstetrician, fetal & maternal medicine, specialist, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital.
  • To assess risks of Down's syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. 'This is calculated depending on various individual factors of a woman. Age, thickness of nuchal translucency, blood flow through fetal heart and liver, foetal abnormalities, nasal bone etc,' says Dr Vadeyar.
  • To diagnose multiple pregnancies. 'Approximately 2 percent of natural conceptions and 10 percent of assisted conceptions result in multiple pregnancy. A NT scan determines if both babies are developing normally and if they share the same placenta, which could give rise to pregnancy complications later. Such pregnancies need close monitoring,' informs Dr Vadeyar.
  • To detect major fetal abnormalities. 'Major abnormalities can be visible at this period of gestation, but still one need to wait for an anomaly scan done during the 20th week to be sure,' says Dr Vadeyar.
  • To diagnose early pregnancy failure. 'Unfortunately for about 2 percent of women who come for the NT scan find out that the foetus have already stopped growing and died often several weeks before without any warning,' says Dr Vadeyar. Couples in such case would need in depth counseling.

Who should go for the scan: Ideally every pregnant woman should opt for this scan. Every woman despite their age and other physiological factor will have a small risk of giving birth to babies with Drown's syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities. The NT reading helps to determine the chances. A reading less than 3.5mm would indicate lower risk of Drown's syndrome. It is usually the measure of the thickness of the liquid present under the skin at the back of the baby's neck.

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