Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wordy Wednesday


Happy hump day! I have come to the realization that I might be using some terms, or will be in the near future, that some people may not understand. Since I am such a nice girl I have decided to save you the Google-ing and start doing a post on Wednesdays containing at least one word or phase and what it means (thank you Snoop Dogg for this idea). This may or may not be in addition to a normal post, depending on how chatty I feel that day. So lets get to it.

Today's Phword (phrase+word, try to stay with me here) is: Nuchal Translucency Screening (or NT Screen/Scan, Nuchal Fold Scan)

According to Baby Center, "This prenatal test (also called the NT or nuchal fold scan) can help your healthcare practitioner assess your baby's risk of having Down syndrome (DS) and some other chromosomal abnormalities as well as major congenital heart problems.

The NT test uses ultrasound to measure the clear (translucent) space in the tissue at the back of your developing baby's neck. Babies with abnormalities tend to accumulate more fluid at the back of their neck during the first trimester, causing this clear space to be larger than average."

This test needs to be performed between 11 and 13w6d to be most accurate. Mine will be at 11w4d (Monday!) and will be done in conjunction with a blood test. It doesn't give you a firm diagnosis, but will give accurate risk percentages so that you can choice to have further testing done. This is a fairly new test - it used to only be done through blood and the results gave a lot of false positives and negatives. Since the newer test uses ultrasound in addition to blood sampling, it is far more accurate. The technician running the test must use high-resolution ultrasound and also must be certified through the Fetal Medicine Foundation in London. I have to go to a different doctor than my normal OB since the test is newer and requires a lot more training and certification than normal first trimester screenings (the one that isn't as accurate and uses blood).

Choices. A lot of women choose not to have this test done, which is fine since it is elective. We chose to run the test because we want to be prepared if something were wrong. This will not in any way change our mind about the pregnancy or cause us to consider termination. It is simply about preparedness. There are many things you cannot prepare for in pregnancy or raising a child, but if the option is there for me, and gives me time for research, I will take it.

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