Prenatal Screening: the Nuchal Translucency Scan (NT scan) (and my 13 week ultrasound!)

Since I’m 36 years old, I am considered a “high-risk pregnancy.” As a result, there are a lot of genetic tests that I’m “encouraged” to take, tests that screen for Down Syndrome, chromosomal abnormalities, and other genetic defects. This extra level of scrutiny that comes with being a “high risk” pregnancy has positives and negatives attached to it.

The positives: The extra genetic tests can only be a good thing in terms of catching anything that might be wrong with the baby. And nowadays the tests generally only consist of a blood test and ultrasound, which is safer for the baby (compared to an amniocentesis, for example).

The negatives: I am hyper aware of all the things that can go wrong and think about it wayyy more often than I otherwise would. Not to mention, way to make a bitch feel old!

So at my first doctor appointment, the doctor asked me if I was interested in genetic testing and specifically if I wanted to take this one test, MaternT21. He said these tests are done very early in the pregnancy in case the results would affect whether you would continue with the pregnancy, and also that my insurance would probably cover it since I’m “high risk.” I told him I’d look into it.

I went home and did research, and was not sure if I wanted the test. The problem is that none of these tests are 100% accurate. How can I make a decision based on that? If the test tells you everything is fine and it isn’t, then what was the point? Or, vice versa, it tells you something may be wrong and you get an abortion based on that wrong info, or you keep the baby and spend the rest of your pregnancy worried and stressed and everything ends up fine! It’s messed up.

My biggest fear, obviously, was getting a negative result. I finally decided that I WOULD take the test, but I would take ANY results with a grain of salt. Plus, this particular test says it can determine the baby’s sex at 10 weeks! That was enticement enough.

In the end, I didn’t take the test. Not because of any misgivings, but because I would have had to meet my deductable before my insurance kicked in, and in total I would have had to pay about $800. No thanks! I was not paying $800 for a test I wasn’t even sure I wanted.

When I went back to the doctor at 12 weeks, the nurse practitioner asked me if I wanted to do this other test, the NT Scan. This one also tests for down syndrome and other stuff, but while the MaternT21 test is (supposedly) 99% accurate, this one is only 85% accurate. However, this test was 100% COVERED by my insurance. So I decided to do it. After all, another ultrasound means another chance to see my baby!

A week later I found myself back at the doctor’s office getting an ultrasound. Dave had to work, so I brought my friend with me instead. I was a little nervous in case they gave me bad news, so I definitely needed some support! And it was so nice to have a female there squealing alongside me whenever the baby moved!

The ultrasound was amaaaaazing. It took about 15 minutes and was sooooo much better than my first ultrasound. The technician would press my belly hard with the ultrasound and you’d see the baby put it’s hands up like “Stop!” And I got to see all sorts of different angles – at one point it was an overhead view and I could actually see the outline of the brain. THE BRAIN! WTH! It was just so crazy. I posted a snippet to my instagram, if you care to watch (link is in the right panel).

No news on the gender front. I had hoped she would be able to see something, but she was quite emphatic that 13 weeks they don’t even attempt to determine the sex, and she barely even looked between the legs (although there were several between the legs shots and I didn’t see anything). However, she did say “he” and “him” a few times when referring to the baby, which I didn’t even notice until I watched the video later that day. Hopefully she was just speaking generically!

baby-13 weeks3blog

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One Response to Prenatal Screening: the Nuchal Translucency Scan (NT scan) (and my 13 week ultrasound!)

  1. Liz says:

    I heard of a lot of stories at 13 weeks where people were told the sex from US and it later ended up being incorrect. Apparently the penis basically just is an enlarged clitoris (I mean, obviously it’s different, haha, but in terms of growing), so it can be difficult to really determine it that early. She was probably using he generally. I did genetic blood testing. Jon spoke with insurance and they said it was covered, so hopefully he got that part right. I get the results next week at my appointment on Friday. I’m sure they could have figured out the sex from that, but they never asked so I doubt the lab counted the chromosomes just for that. Who knows. I press on my belly all the time trying to get my baby to move in a way that I can feel it (on the inside- I know I can’t feel it from the outside yet), but it never works. But now I picture my baby being like, “Mom, stop pushing on me all the freaking time.” Haha. Can’t wait till my US tomorrow!

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