Nuchal Translucency Ultrasound

Nuchal Translucency Ultrasound


Your referring Doctor or Midwife (LMC) may refer you for a Nuchal Translucency Ultrasound as part of Maternal Serum Screen (MSS1).

This information is to help you with any questions you may have.

Why have a Nuchal Translucency scan?

This is a screening test, where measurements are made of the fetus between 12 weeks and 13 weeks and 6 days. The information obtained is combined with specific hormone levels in your blood test results to produce a risk factor for chromosomal abnormalities (e.g. Down Syndrome) and potential growth issues later in pregnancy. We will also assess early fetal development and growth. It is not a diagnostic test, but a guide for your referrer, you and your partner, about the need for further tests. Occasionally the fetus is not well seen on the abdominal scan and it may be necessary to perform an endovaginal scan.  Please read our Nuchal Pamphlet.

We recommend you have the MSS1 blood test prior to the ultrasound.


You will need to have a full bladder for this examination. Please drink one litre of water finished one hour before your appointment time; do not empty after this. The urine in your bladder assists us to see the pregnancy and pelvic organs.

Who does the test?

A Sonographer (Technologist trained specifically in ultrasound) will perform the examination and record the necessary ultrasound images. The Radiologist will review these images and provide a written report to your Referrer and National Screening Unit.

The Procedure

The Sonographer will ask you to lie on a table. Some gel will be spread on your bare lower abdomen and a transducer will be moved over your lower abdomen to produce images. You will be able to watch these images on a specially mounted TV screen. The Sonographer will be able to show you details of what they are seeing on the monitor.

How long does it take?

On average an ultrasound scan takes between 20 and 30 minutes. Factors that determine the length of the scan are, position of the baby in the uterus, how much fluid is present around the baby, how full the bladder is, the reason for the scan, maternal size or whether an endovaginal scan is required.

After the examination

The Radiologist will review the ultrasound images and provide a written report to your Midwife/Doctor and the pathology laboratory. The scan images will be available to you and your family through the Hamilton My Images app.

Please ensure the receptionist has your mobile number to access these images. If you do not wish to receive these, please let us know.

Cost is $40 which is payable on the day of your appointment prior to the examination (NZ Resident).

Please contact Hamilton Radiology for an appointment on 07-839 4909 or 0800 HAMRAD (0800 426723).

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Postal Address: P O Box 262, Hamilton
Street Address: Gate 2, 11 Thackeray Street, Hamilton
Phone: (07) 839 4909
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