In this article you will learn the following
One of the most important questions for expectant ones Parents is assured of whether the baby is healthy. A neck fold measurement can rule out some risks related to possible genetic diseases.
In the following article you will find out what a neck fold measurement actually is, which risks can be uncovered, how much it costs and much more.
What is a neck fold measurement?
Due to the still incomplete development kidney and lymphatic system by the end of the first trimester of pregnancy, fluid collects in the baby's neck area (“nuchal crease”). This fluid will form again as your pregnancy progresses.
When measuring the nuchal folds, also called nuchal translucency measurement, the thickness of these folds is measured using a special ultrasound. If this thickness deviates from the norm, this could be an indication that there is a chromosomal abnormality. Values between 1 and 2.5 millimeters are considered normal. The nuchal fold is considered to be thicker from about 3 millimeters and thickened from about 6 millimeters.
The best time to measure the nuchal fold is between the 11th. and 14.week of pregnancy. Before that, the baby is still too small and the fluid will recede afterwards.
The measurement can be carried out by a gynecologist with additional training in prenatal diagnostics or in a prenatal medicine center and is usually part of the so-called first trimester screening .
The neck fold measurement is actually like a normal ultrasound examination, only a special, high-resolution ultrasound device is required for it. The ultrasound can be performed through the abdominal wall or vaginally and only takes a few minutes.
Blood will also be taken so that any malformations can be better assessed. Then one speaks of a “Combined Test”.
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What risks can be uncovered when measuring the nuchal fold?
A thickened nuchal fold can indicate the following disorders or defects in the unborn baby:
- Trisomy 13
- Trisomy 18
- Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome)
- Heart defect
- Diaphragmatic hernia
- Fetal anemia
- Impaired lymphatic drainage
- Turner syndrome
The results of this investigation are never 100% certain. They represent a probability value. This means that abnormalities can be detected that increase the risk of a malformation in the baby.
But please don't freak out, only if the crease is maybe 0.1 millimeters thicker than normal. There may be abnormalities and your baby will be born completely healthy. Incidentally, it can also behave the other way around. Nothing suspicious is found during the measurement, but the baby is born with a malformation.
If something abnormal is discovered during the neck fold measurement, further tests can be recommended and carried out.
For example, a blood test from the mother . The mother's blood also contains the child's DNA. This means that the blood can also be examined for the most common chromosome abnormalities. The blood test and the ultrasound do not pose a health risk for mother and child.
There are other tests, such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling. However, these examinations are associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.
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How much does the neck fold measurement cost?
The costs for the neck fold measurement usually have to be borne by yourself. But there are also health insurance companies that cover the costs! It is best to clarify this with your health insurance company beforehand. It's free to ask.
The costs for the investigation vary greatly and are between 50 and 250€.
If you have a high-risk pregnancy or are over 35 years old (this is enough as a factor for a high-risk pregnancy), you do not have to pay anything for the first trimester screening and it will be covered by your health insurance company. If you want to do the blood test as well, you unfortunately have to pay for it yourself.
Neck wrinkle measurement, yes or no?
Unfortunately I cannot answer this question for you, every expectant mother has to do it together decide with your partner. Neck fold measurement is recommended for women over the age of 35, as the age of the mother increases the risk of birth defects. It is also recommended to have this examination carried out for other risk factors.
Of course it is always difficult to make such a decision. What happens if the investigation actually discovers something suspicious? Does the result of the screening change anything in the decision to have the child?
If the result does not change your desire to have the child, you can of course use the ultrasound scan to see your baby. The high-resolution ultrasound devices take really great pictures.