What Happens if a Problem is Detected During the 12 Week Nuchal Scan?


The ultrasound scan occurring between 11 and 14 weeks, the Nuchal Translucency Scan, is an important part of your antenatal care. The Fetal Medicine Specialist or sonographer who is conducting your 12 week scan in London will perform some important health screening on your baby. One of these is to screen for certain chromosomal abnormalities, in particular, Down’s Syndrome.

nuchal scan


The Nuchal Translucency Test

The nuchal translucency test involves measuring the fold at the back of your baby’s neck. If this is not within the expected range then it may indicates that your baby is at higher risk of chromosomal abnormalities such as:

  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Edward’s Syndrome
  • Patau’s Syndrome

Each of these chromosomal abnormalities have different outcomes for the baby, , so screening for them during pregnancy is very important.

What Happens if You Have an Abnormal Nuchal Scan?

Getting an abnormal result from your nuchal ultrasound can be very worrying, but it is important to remember that this is just a screening test and not a diagnostic one. The scan result may show that your baby is at higher risk, but it doesn’t mean that he or she is definitely affected by a chromosomal abnormality. You will have a chance to discuss what the results mean with your doctor in London before deciding on your next steps, which may include:

  • Having the Harmony test, a blood test that can provide more accurate screening for Down’s syndrome and other genetic abnormalities.
  • Arranging Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) or an amniocentesis test, both of which use a very fine needle to take samples from the placenta to confirm the presence of any abnormalities. These are invasive tests that pose certain risks, including a small chance of miscarriage but they are diagnostic as opposed to offering a risk factor.
  • Learning more about the condition that is affecting your baby and considering your options for the pregnancy.

Whatever the results of your ultrasound scans, you will always receive plenty of information and support at the Women’s Wellness Centre in London.


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The contents on this site is for information only, and is not meant to substitute the advice of your own physician or other medical professional.