Raised NT 3.5mm or more on scan

You have been given this information leaflet because your baby's nuchal translucency is 3.5mm or higher.

What is Nuchal Translucency?

Every unborn baby has nuchal translucency seen on a scan; this is a collection of fluid under the skin at the back of the neck.

If your baby has more fluid than usual it can sometimes be a sign of a health problem.

Why do we measure Nuchal Translucency?

All pregnant ladies in Wales are offered a screening test called the Combined test to give them information of the chance of their baby having Downs, Edwards and Patau syndrome.

The test combines the NT measurement seen on scan and a blood test taken from yourself.

Implications of raised NT

The raised NT may be associated with certain conditions such as:

  • Downs, Patau and Edwards and other genetic syndromes
  • Congenital Heart anomalies
  • Structural problems
  • Higher chance of miscarriage.

It is important to remember that many babies who have an increased NT on scan go on to healthy babies with no chromosomal or physical problems.

Scan image showing NT


What happens next?

You can discuss the scan findings with the Fetal Medicine or appropriately trained midwife.

You will be referred to be seen in the Fetal Medicine Clinic normally at around 15 –16 weeks of pregnancy where you will be able to have a further scan to check baby's development and growth and discuss plan of care.

You can await the Combined test result which should be available in 5-7 days and will be contacted by the midwife.

If the combined test shows a higher chance result, then you have different options: -

  • You can do nothing and await an appointment in fetal medicine clinic.
  • You will be offered a NIPT (Non-invasive Prenatal Test) which is a simple blood test to determine your chance of Downs, Edwards and Patau syndrome only–this is a screening test but is more accurate than the combined test. (read Antenatal Screening Wales website for more information)
  • You will be offered further tests such as Chorionic Villus Sample or Amniocentesis (Further information regarding these procedures found on the Antenatal Screening Wales Website). These are invasive diagnostic tests performed to check for chromosomal abnormalities. The first result will take approximately 3-5 working days.

An anomaly scan will be performed at 19 weeks pregnant by a senior sonographer.

An extra scan of baby's heart will be performed at 22 weeks pregnant too.


You will be seen in Fetal Medicine Clinic at around 15/16 weeks of pregnancy (sometimes earlier) to scan baby for growth and normal development.

This page is to give you basic information and may not be able to answers all your questions but when you are seen in clinic any concerns can be discussed in more detail.


It is an understandably a difficult time for parents, but you will be given full support from the Fetal Medicine Team.

If you have any questions prior to your appointment, then contact the Fetal Medicine Midwife to discuss further.

Contact Numbers

Royal Gwent Hospital 01633 234747

Nevill Hall Hospital 01873 732390 or 01873 732391

Useful Websites

ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices) - Offer information and support to parents who are making decisions before, during and after tests in pregnancy

Tel no: 084507722990

Website: https://www.arc-uk.org/

Email: info@arc-uk-org

ASW (Antenatal Screening Wales)

Website: https://phw.nhs.wales/services-and-teams/screening/antenatal-screening-wales/

Improving the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of expectant mothers, infants, children and young people throughout Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Area.

(N.B: The Family and Therapies team at ABUHB is NOT responsible for the content on the webpage links that we refer to in our resource sections and linked information to external sites. All information was accurate and appropriate at the time the webpage was created.)

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