As you've probably noted by now if you drop by here with any degree of frequency whatsoever, I was "nervous pregnant chick" -- always worried that something was wrong with my baby. Naturally, I took every test offered to me to try to reassure myself that everything would be OK, including the nuchal translucency.
In case you find yourself being offered this screening test, here's the lowdown on what it is.
There are two types of tests that check for birth defects -- screening tests and diagnostic tests.
Screening tests see what the likelihood is that a baby will have a certain defect. If your result is "positive," your doctor may order additional testing -- or a diagnostic test. If the result is "negative," it's unlikely that your baby will have the defect, but it's not a guarantee.
Diagnostic tests determine for certain whether or not a baby has a defect.
The nuchal translucency (NT) test is a fairly common first trimester screening test that looks for abnormalities that might indicate Down Syndrome or other conditions. An ultrasound is used to measure the thickness of the area at the back of the baby's neck. An increase in the thickness can point to a potential defect. You may also be offered a blood test for the doctor to look at in combination with the NT test results.
The NT test is common, but not offered everywhere -- ask your doctor about it and any other first trimester screening tests he may perform.
Are you in your first trimester? Have you had any screening tests done yet?