I think I am almost decided not to have NT testing, because the results would not affect my decision to keep the baby or not. However I wanted to ask more knowledgeable folks, what are the medical implications? Would heart problems or the like be picked up on in the 20 week scan? If possible I'd like to give birth in a mw led unit, but wouldn't want to be putting my baby at risk in any way. Advice from those more experienced?
Hi Ruth. We decided not to have the NT test this time round. We did last time without thinking of the consequences. When it came back high risk we had some hard choices but termination was never one of them. I didn't even want to risk amnio in case of mc. Anyway, all was fine and we didn't want to go through that stress again. Yes, the 20 week scan is likely to pick up any major heart problems and that is more important than a possible risk factor for Downs in my mind. It's not as if you can be told definitively one way or the other purely by the NT. if there were problems it would likely be picked up at the 20 week scan but it'd be too late for an easy termination as I understand it.
The NT scan also checks for other syndromes like Edwards - these have a 100% mortality rate. The vast majority of women prefer to terminate these rather than have a stillbirth (or if the baby doesn't die straight away see him/her suffer for a few hours then die).
Therefore when they are picked up at the 20 week scan, as PrincessWatermelon says, the woman may well have to deliver a baby she knows will die/be born dead. Many would find this unbearable.
This is why even though I wouldn't have terminated a baby with Downs syndrome, I still had the tests done: Downs wasn't my biggest concern.
Also, as I planned a homebirth, and not everything gets picked up at the 20 week scan, I wanted to know where I stood. For example, had my baby had Down's but no other obvious complications, I would still have pressed to give birth at the CLU, possibly by ELCS.
I had it done for 2 reasons. Firstly, even though I wouldn't personally have terminated for Down syndrome, I would absolutely have wanted to be prepared if that's what we were facing. This would have allowed me time to research all I could and to be as practically and emotionally prepared for my child. Secondly, the nt scan also picks up both Edwards and pateaus, both of which are likely to be fatal either through stillbirth or shortly after birth. I would have terminated for both those conditions.