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Nuchal Fold Thickening

This condition is an increased thickness of the skin at the base of a fetus's neck. It is found via ultrasound in 1-2 percent of normal pregnancies between 15 and 20 weeks' gestation.

Causes of nuchal fold thickening

  • Most babies with a thickened nuchal fold have no other problems.
  • It can increase the risk of chromosome problems such as Down syndrome or, more rarely, a genetic syndrome.
  • There may be a higher risk of chromosomal problems if you have had abnormal results on an ultrasound or a maternal serum screening.

Further testing

  • You can have a more detailed ultrasound to look for other abnormalities.
  • The maternal serum screening can assess your risk of having a baby with Down syndrome, usually done between 15 and 20 weeks.
  • An amniocentesis can diagnose a chromosome abnormality or infection. Amniocentesis involves obtaining a sample of the fluid surrounding the baby, which is then used to study the fetal chromosomes. There is a small risk of miscarriage from amniocentesis.
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