The nuchal fold is a small area on the back of the fetus’ neck that temporarily accumulates fluid during the mother’s pregnancy and its formation, especially between weeks 11 and 14. This fluid accumulation can be measured through Several medical methods and many women carry it out since it is recommended to find out if there is a possibility that the baby will be born with cognitive cardiac problems or with syndromes such as Down’s.
The nuchal fold exists between the neck and the back of all babies, that is to say that because there is this liquid there is no risk of any chromosomal alteration. This risk exists once the distance from that fold has been measured and the results obtained. The measurement of the nuchal fold is carried out during pregnancy because it is the most reliable test to know if our baby is going to have Down syndrome .
HOW IS THE NUCHAL FOLD MEASURED?
To begin we must know that it is a test that is only performed during the first trimester, but when the fetus already begins to be more developed. That is why the exact time to do it is between the 11th and 14th week of pregnancy. This is because at this time is when the skin is still transparent and the liquid is clearly visible to be able to measure if the length of the skin in that area is wider than normal or if we are facing a case of risk of chromosomal alteration . Later on, that area will no longer be so transparent, but more opaque so it will be more difficult to see the liquid, in addition to that it has been able to disappear without thereby eliminating the risks of encountering a baby with Down syndrome or other cardiac disturbance.
A point to take into account is also to go to the appointment to measure the nuchal fold with a full bladder, so if this is not the case, you will be recommended to drink a few glasses of liquid before doing it to fill it. This is done because the bladder will then push the uterus and the fetus will take a position that will make it much easier to get the test results. We must know that the measurement of the nuchal fold is not an invasive test neither for the mother, nor for the development of the pregnancy nor for the fetus.
To carry out the test, we must go to an adapted medical center with the necessary gynecological instruments, or to a gynecological consultation itself. The health technician will perform an abdominal ultrasound test , or ultrasound , which will never be vaginal. At this time, the real length of the fetus will be measured through the screen to see if the pregnancy is being correct and the development of the fetus is adequate. Once confirmed , the area of the baby’s nuchal fold will be searched and the area will be measured, which will be more or less bulky depending on the amount of liquid that exists inside. For this, the baby must be placed on his side, otherwise it will be impossible to measure the area of the nuchal fold correctly.
WHAT DO THE RESULTS MEAN?
Nuchal fold measurement results will vary greatly depending on the circumstances. For this, an analysis will also be carried out on the mother that together with the measurement of the fetus, the fold, and the development of the pregnancy will give us the final result of the test that we were looking for to know if our baby has any possibility of being born with any alteration chromosome.
In this, the mother’s age will also have to be studied, since studies affirm that the older the mother’s age, the more risks there are of these types of alterations occurring . The fact that the results denote a high thickness of the nuchal fold does not mean that the risk is 100% real, since it is not a test with a totally diagnostic efficacy, only indicative.
The results of this test are offered in a statistical way, that is, it is known that there is a probability of 1 in every X children. This will depend on the actual probability depending on the case. For example, if after measuring the nuchal fold it is obtained that there is a probability of 1 in 30, it means that 1 in 30 babies born with the same results has a real risk of suffering some kind of problem. The higher the second number, the lower the risk, since if it is otherwise 1 in 5,000 it means that only 1 in 5,000 babies will be born with problems, and the remaining 4,999 will not.
In spite of everything, we remember that it is not a 100% effective test, so even if a negative result comes out, that does not mean that the baby will be born with problems. The same case occurs on the contrary, a positive result does not exempt from risks.