Nuchal Translucency (NT Scan)

Nuchal Translucency (NT Scan) is recommended for women who are at increased risk of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality. It is due to many factors which are being discussed in the article along with the details of this scan.

Overview of the Nuchal Translucency (NT Scan)

The NT scan is a prenatal screening test that is used to assess the risk of chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome (trisomy 21), Patau syndrome (trisomy 13), or Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18). The test is usually performed during the first trimester of pregnancy.

About the Nuchal Translucency (NT Scan)

The NT scan involves using ultrasound to measure the thickness of the nuchal translucency, which is the space at the back of the baby's neck. A higher-than-normal NT measurement can indicate an increased risk for certain birth defects.

When is a Nuchal Translucency (NT scan) done?

It is performed between 11 and 13 weeks of gestation or when your baby is between 45 millimetres and 84 millimetres. It is from the crown of the baby (top of the head) to the rump of the baby (bottom of the torso).

It is recommended not to delay beyond 13 weeks, as the fluid behind the baby’s neck inclines to get reabsorbed by the body after the 14th week and it becomes difficult to get an accurate report later in pregnancy.

Risk factors associated with the Nuchal Translucency (NT Scan)

There are several risk factors associated with the Nuchal Translucency (NT) Scan as shared below:

  1. Mother's age: the older the mother, the higher the risk of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality.
  2. Previous child with a chromosomal abnormality: this increases the risk for future pregnancies.
  3. History of multiple miscarriages: this also increases the risk. Certain medical conditions of the mother, such as diabetes, can also increase the risk.

How to prepare for the Nuchal Translucency (NT Scan)

Here are a few tips to help you get ready for your NT scan:

  • Drink enough water to have a full bladder for your NT scan.
  • Wear comfortable clothing when you go for an NT scan.
  • If you have any questions, prepare a list to get the points clarified.
  • The NT scan takes less time and is a painless procedure. So relax during the scan.

What to expect from the Nuchal Translucency (NT Scan)

This is an abdominal ultrasound which is done for a nuchal translucency test.  The sonographer will apply ultrasound gel to your stomach. Then, a handheld wand (transducer) is rotated over your abdomen to get the clear required images of your baby on their monitor screen. Measurements in millimetres are taken of the fluid-filled space behind your baby’s neck. It is also called the thickness of the baby's nuchal fold, which is the skin behind the baby's neck.

How long does it take to get results?

Mostly it takes a day to get the results. If additional tests are done, the doctor will wait for all the results to diagnose it completely and calculate if the baby is at risk.

Possible results of the Nuchal Translucency (NT Scan)

NT scan is only a screening test but it cannot diagnose a problem. If your baby is identified as being at increased risk, you will be offered further tests to confirm. The NT scan is usually combined with a blood test called quad screen, which can further assess the risk for chromosomal abnormalities. If the NT scan and/or quad screen are abnormal, additional testing (such as amniocentesis) may be recommended to confirm the diagnosis.

A higher-than-average NT measurement may indicate an increased risk of your baby having a chromosomal abnormality. Further tests, such as amniocentesis or, chorionic villus sampling (CVS) may be recommended for a complete diagnosis.

When to see a doctor?

If you come under any one of the criteria of being a high-risk candidate to get an NT scan to detect any eventuality of a chromosomal defect in your baby, you must see the doctor immediately and this scan is to be done between 11-13 weeks of pregnancy and not later. 


An NT scan is a noninvasive and safe test for you and your baby. Get it done between 11-13 weeks of pregnancy and do not delay if you fall into the high-risk category. 

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Amritsar - Abadi Court Road. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. What is a normal NT scan result?

The normal measurement is 3.5 mm if the baby measures between 45 mm (1.8 inches) and 84 mm (3.3 inches). It is when the test is done between 11-13 weeks of the gestation period.

2. What if the NT scan is not normal?

If your nuchal translucency scan test and any other prenatal screening results indicate an increased risk of your baby having any genetic abnormality, you will be advised another set of tests to confirm.

3. Should I be worried about the NT scan?

An NT scan is a very safe and noninvasive test.

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