Congratulations! You are pregnant and going to have a baby in 9-months. Over the next 9-months, your health and the health of your baby will be monitored with a battery of tests. Many of these tests have a narrow window of time during which they must be performed. Pregnancy is usually measured in trimesters, which begin from the initial day of a woman’s last menstrual period. The timeframe for pregnancy totals approximately 40-weeks and is divided into trimesters. The first trimester of pregnancy is weeks 1 through 12. The second trimester of pregnancy is weeks 13 through 27. The third trimester of pregnancy spans week 28 until birth.
Ten common tests you can expect during pregnancy are…
Nuchal translucency is a screening ultrasound examination obtained between weeks 11 and 14 of pregnancy. Because it is a screening test, nuchal translucency can’t determine for sure if a baby has a birth defect. A positive screening test requires follow-up with a diagnostic test to definitively diagnose a birth defect. It measures the amount of fluid at the base, or nuchal fold, of a fetus’ neck.
The timing of a nuchal translucency screen is crucial due to the fact that the nuchal fold is still transparent during weeks 11 through 14 of fetal development. The nuchal fold becomes less transparent beyond week 14 of fetal development. If the amount of fluid at the nuchal fold is increased, the likelihood of a birth defect is increased. Nuchal translucency may be used as a screening test for Down syndrome, congenital heart defects, and other genetic disorders. There are no risks associated with nuchal translucency screening.