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The fluid collection is however increased in many fetuses with Down's syndrome and many other chromosomal abnormalities.
It is called a 'translucency' because on ultrasound this appears as a black space beneath the fetal skin.
If you are unsure of your period dates or have an irregular cycle, we suggest that you contact your doctor, midwife or health care provider as early as possible to arrange for a dating scan.
There is no hard and fast rule for the number of scans you should have during pregnancy.
At the first trimester scan they confirm that the fetus is alive, they assess the gestational age by measuring the crown-rump length and will look for any major problems.
This is a routine ultrasound examination done at 10 to 14 weeks of gestation.
A third line, almost in continuity with the skin, but at a higher level, represents the tip of the nose.This is normally less than 2.5mm and when seen increased (greater than 2.5mm, see image on the right) may indicate the baby has Down syndrome or may indicate another chromosomal abnormality. The nuchal translucency test will also check whether your baby has a visible nasal bone.In the past few years it has been seen that approximately 3 in 4 babies with Down's syndrome do not have a visible nasal bone at the time of the first trimester screening test.The baby will be measured, and the anatomy examined in detail.It is recommended that all pregnant women have a scan in the first trimester at around 12 weeks of pregnancy to confirm their dates.