Nuchal Translucency Study (NT or 12 Week Obstetric Scan)

The NT scan is a highly specialized study performed between 11-13 weeks of pregnancy. It is a study that provides a risk calculation for a number of chromosomal disorders that may affect the pregnancy such as Downe’s Syndrome.

Aside from assessing the general wellbeing of the baby, a measurement is taken from a thin skin fold behind the baby’s neck (the nuchal translucency). This measurement along with the blood test results will be used by computer software to generate the risk calculations for the pregnancy.

The sonographers at In Focus Radiology are all certified by the Society of Fetal Medicine to perform Nuchal Translucency Scans.

Please note – NT scans do not give definite diagnoses, Only risk calculations. Your doctor will be able to discuss the results with you at your next appointment.


Approximately 20-30 minutes. This time can vary as the success of the examination greatly depends on the position of the baby. The sonographer may request you to go for a walk and return a little later if the baby is not in the desired position.


2 hours before your examination time, empty your bladder. Over the next hour, drink 1 Litre of water. Then, do not empty your bladder until the sonographer performing your examination asks you to. It is important you have a full bladder for the examination. You should wear a loose-fitting, two-piece outfit for the examination. You may eat as normal.

You will have also been instructed by your referrer to have a blood that relates to this examination. Ideally, you should have the blood test 7-4 days prior to your Ultrasound. The results of your Ultrasound will then be correlated with your blood tests as well as your personal attributes such as height, age and weight to formulate a risk assessment.

What to expect

The sonographer will talk briefly to you about your medical history, especially pertaining to the pregnancy. You will be required to lie down on the ultrasound bed and reveal your lower abdomen. Some ultrasound gel will be used on the abdomen to help with the scan. The sonographer may need to apply light compression in order to achieve the best imaging of the baby.

At all times please talk to the sonographer about your comfort levels.


We understand having a medical procedure can sometimes be a confusing and worrisome time. We are here to help you, so if you are unsure about any aspect relating to your examination, please raise your concerns with us at any time and we will do our best to assist you.

Although we are happy to answer questions, you will need to discuss the results of your procedure directly with your referrer.

Your Images and Report

It is important that you make an appointment to return to your doctor after your visit with us. Whether the results are normal or abnormal, your doctor needs to correlate this with other information for further management.

Depending on your referrer’s preference(s), a copy of the report and images will be sent directly to your referring doctor. You will also be given a copy of your images on film or CD for your own records.

In urgent circumstances, our specialist will speak with your doctor directly by telephone the same day of your examination.

Digital copies of all studies are stored on our secured database for comparison with any future examinations.