Nuchal Scan

Updated: Jul 16, 2020

May 2017

Week 12

I’m now 12 weeks pregnant and feeling rather heavy and fat. I know I’m only 3 months but the physical changes that are taking place with my body are very noticeable especially for someone like me who is used to going to the gym regularly. I’m eating more than I should do and it’s because of the nausea and awful bitter taste I have in my mouth. I’m more anxious than ever and still attending counselling sessions which are useful as I can openly discuss how I’m feeling and coping.

I would really advise any mother with a mental health issue to seek professional help and support and avoid thinking you can handle it on your own when there is support available to you. The last thing you want to do is suffer in silence it’s best to avoid stress as when you’re stressed so is your baby (in my case, babies). If you access or don’t want professional help, then try and speak to family and friends it’s really helpful to talk to someone about how you feel. There are also pregnancy groups that you can attend, other mums you can share your issues with and vice versa – don’t be left feeling like you’re alone on this journey as I am living proof that talking to someone helps.

I’m feeling more anxious than usual this month as I have my Nuchal scan this week. Once again, I had my husband by my side telling me not to worry. I wish I was as relaxed as him. Just to explain the procedure this is a scan that takes place between weeks 11-14 of pregnancy to assess how babies are developing and to see if there are any birth defects such as Down’s syndrome as well as major congenital heart problems.

The NT scan measures the clear (translucent) space in the tissue at the back of your babies neck. Babies with abnormalities tend to accumulate more fluid at the back of their neck during the first trimester, causing this clear space to be larger than average.

Throughout my scan I had this awful tight feeling in my chest, I couldn’t breathe properly, I was praying my babies were OK. I was so scared, worried, nervous all at once. Here I am in the image above laying on my back, my anxiety kicking in – full effect! When the doctor told me both twins measured 1.3mm fluid behind their neck I was relieved. If fluid is a thick as 3.1mm I would have been referred to have an Amniocentesis test which involves a long needle being inserted into your stomach and fluid being withdrawn. Please be aware there is a risk of miscarriage through this procedure (seek medical advice first).

Once I was given the news of the measurements of fluid as well as my blood test results, the chest pain I was experiencing subsided and I felt I could breathe properly again. I spoke to my counsellor who said it sounded like I was having a mild panic attack – no surprises there then! This happens often.

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