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Nuchal Translucency (NT)

Patient information A-Z

Illustration of a baby in foetal position with a grey area behind the head and back
Nuchal translucency: Grey area indicates where a baby’s nuchal translucency shows up on a scan

What is the problem?

All babies have a small amount of fluid under the skin, which can be seen as a black space at the back of the neck on scan. This is called nuchal translucency (NT). This collection of fluid normally measures less than 3.5mm between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy.

What does this mean?

During your ultrasound examination today we found that your baby has an increased NT. This can be a normal variation or can be associated with a chromosomal abnormality or a heart problem. We see this appearance in about 1 in every 150 pregnancies.

What happens next?

You will be offered the opportunity to discuss these findings with a fetal medicine midwife.

You may wish to know for certain whether your baby has a chromosome problem and this would involve an amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS). Both these tests carry a small risk of miscarriage and, therefore, for some people this decision may be very difficult.

You will also be offered a scan in fetal medicine department with a fetal medicine consultant to discuss this further, in addition to the 20-week scan, to exclude other problems.

For further details contact the fetal medicine midwives on 01223 216185.

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Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151