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What does anyone know about the 12 week dating/NT scan?

(7 Posts)
Biscuitsandtea Mon 05-Sep-11 14:33:38


I was wondering if anyone was able to give me any advice on the NT bit of the dating scan (ie the 12 week scan).

We had DS 3 years ago and at that time, the hospital did not offer the NT bit of the early scan. I should say here, please please excuse my lack of correct terminology. I'm not entirely clear on all this stuff, so sorry if I sound confusing (it's probably because I am confused? blush).

We are currently almost 11 weeks along with DC2 and when I had my booking in the m/w explained that they now offer this extra bit to the dating scan where they can measure the nuchal fold (?) to factor into your risk score for Downs. At the booking in appointment I was a bit unsure as it was something new to me - I'd never heard of this before and the M/W said if you're not sure, I'll put you down as wanting it done because if you change your mind they can just not do it on the day, but if you aren't down to want it done, they can't add it in at the last minute (iyswim).

I tried to explain this to DH when I got home and he said he wasn't sure about wanting it done. I think he sort of thought that we never had this extra test with DS (as it wasn't available) so why now? I think he was worried that it would increase our risk (well, not increase the risk exactly, but maybe give us increased odds) and then of course we'd have to be making all sorts of other decisions.

Please don't think badly of me for asking this question, but I know a lot of you ladies are very knowledgeable about all this and I thought you might be able to shed a bit of light on it for me.

I don't even know if this is a possible question to ask/answer but is the extra scan likely to increase or decrease your odds?

My DH has confused me about it (I would probably just have every test done that the hospital suggested because they're the experts) but DH's reluctance has made me unsure. I'm not even sure if he has really thought it through or what he thinks the problem with the test is. I doubt he even knows himself (he's not trying to be awkward or anything).

I guess I just wanted to find out anything else about it so that we could have a more informed discussion about it.

Thank you in advance for your help.

ImpyCelyn Mon 05-Sep-11 16:01:41

I had it done last time, and I'll have it this time.

The scan itself can do nothing to your risk, but obviously they use it to calculate your risk. So if they say you have a 1/150 chance of the baby having Down's Syndrome then you would have had that risk anyway, it's just that now you know about it.

For most people I know, once the scan was factored in their risk went down. For example, A is 38, 1st child etc etc gets given a risk factor of X, but when they do the scan the nuchal measurement is well within normal levels, everything looks fine, so the risk actually drops to Y.

If you weren't planning to have it then assumedly you wouldn't make any decisions at all about DS, you would just have the baby anyway? In that case, you might as well go. You do also get the pleasure of seeing your new baby.

On a slightly more sombre note, they can also pick up other conditions; so friends of ours went and found out that the baby had a terrible malformation and was dying. At least they knew it was going to happen and could make choices, rather than just going on until one day the worst happened unexpectedly. This is the reason I'm going for mine.

I'm not sure if I've really answered your question, so if I've missed the point just say and I'll see if I can do any better.

misty0 Mon 05-Sep-11 16:01:45

hi there buiscuitsandtea

Dont worry about sounding like you dont know anything! None of did does until we had to start dealing with it all smile

My knowledge is only through having to go through these tests/chioces for the first time a few months ago. So this will be in 'laymans terms' i'm afraid.

Developments having been made recently in the ability to use the dating ultra sound scan to look at more than just the size of the baby for clues to its health. Now they can look at what they call 'soft markers'. These are details of your baby such as fingers, nose, heart beat and the nuchal fold, which is the fluid behind the neck of baby. The presence/absence/size of these soft markers give a probability or risk factor for various chromasonal problems; DS (downs syndrome) for eg.

For my first 3 children none of this was available. So this was new to me too.

It is up to you wether you have these markers looked at, at your 13 week scan. They can just do a dating scan. That is all down to how much info you and your DH wish to have. Its a personal choice.

I would add that on the NHS it is general practice to only look at the NT (nuchal fold) with little or no time spent looking at the other markers. I went private for my scan and had a very detailed one indeed. I wanted this becasue of my age, 43. In hindsight i'm very glad i did this as very sadly all was not well with my baby, and we were able to make informed choices. As i say though - the decision is yours to make.

I've oversimplified i think here. But this is a great place to ask questions as there is so much wisdom on these threads. (from people wiser than me) Ask away!

All the best smile, and i hope whatever you decide you have a lovely, healthy, event free pregnancy.

Biscuitsandtea Tue 06-Sep-11 17:03:44

Thank you MistyO and ImpyCelyn.

Your posts both helped a lot. I managed to pin DH down to talk about it again last night to get an idea of what it was he was concerned about and I think he had got it confused with an amnio, which is of course a very different decision to make.

I explained (based on your posts - thank you smile) that it is just a more accurate way of working out the risk - so explained what we had had done with DS and what the difference would be here and he changed his mind and now thinks we should have it. I feel much more comfortable with that.

I still don't know what we'd do if it came back as high risk, but even if we did nothing I would rather be a bit prepared!!

Thank you again smile

ImpyCelyn Tue 06-Sep-11 17:23:23

Ah I can see why he was worried then, but no, it's just an ultrasound. It's just that now they look at things in more detail. You can ask them not to though.

Enjoy your scan anyway, hopefully you'll get a little wave smile

manitz Tue 06-Sep-11 22:26:39

hi, just to add that a nuchal scan can pick up many other things and not just downs syndrome. An increased nuchal fold can also be because the baby has heart problems or edwards or other trisomies. Edwards in particular is not compatible with life.

Personally I would never not have one - I missed it with one of my pregnancies (because my pct didn't offer it at hte time) so didnt realise till 23 weeks that the baby had a single ventricle heart - it was far more traumatic to make decisions at that stage than at an earlier gestation.

hope that helps.

Biscuitsandtea Wed 07-Sep-11 06:52:23

That is very helpful - thank you Manitz.

I think we will definitely have it now. I'm now wishing they'd offered it when we had ds!!

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