Ultrasound-thick skin at back of neck

Heather - posted on 07/14/2009 ( 36 moms have responded )

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i went to dr today and had ultrasound. they found the skin at the back of the neck to be thick. They did a blood study but wont know anything till next week. The blood study shows the risk factor for Down Syndrome. If that is not it it could be a heart defect. The babys heartrate was 122 today alittle slower than they would have liked for this time. Im 12 weeks and 3 days. Has anyone else had these results and what was the outcome?? I really need to hear for you

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Ashley - posted on 06/23/2011

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I'm going throw the same thing right I'm 12 week n a few days and they notice thicking of the back I the neck. But babies heart rate was good, but I'm still neavrse , an can't stop thinking about it. Im waiting to go for blood work so I'm stressed right now n an emotional wreck right now. I'm hopping that its nothing n god makes every thing right for me n my family .

Kathy - posted on 08/08/2009

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We just went through this in April. The fluid at the back of the neck was more than there "normal". So we got pulled into the genetic office and was scared to death of all the possiblilites of what could go wrong genetically. We decided to have the bloodtest and then make a decision from there. The bloodtest came back with a higher risk ratio for my age (29). My husband and I were very nervous to talk about the baby at all to anyone for fear of jinxing anything. Our choices were CVS or amnio if we wanted to do anything further. The miscarriage rate is very low for amnio. We opted to have an amnio at 16 weeks and had to wait another week for the results. They also measured the baby at this appointment and the doctor told us it didn't look like there was anything to worry about. Thankfully the amnio came back normal. It was a very hard month of waiting for result after result. You just need to take it one day at a time. Talk to your doctor about any questions you have. I did a lot of praying and seemed to help me feel better too. Good luck!

Christy - posted on 08/09/2009

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With our second baby I had similar results. Our Downs marker was the excess fluid in the kidneys (I think it was kidney). My blood work had also been abnormal prior to this. I had already lost one baby, this was my second high-risk pregnancy, and I knew we wouldn't keep trying, so we decided against the amnio also. Although the amnio risks are small, the risk is fatal, and we weren't willing to take that risk. We knew that even if she had Downs, we wouldn't terminate, so why know? At first it was shocking, but I really was able to enjoy the pregnancy. Shortly before giving birth, the fluid rate was better, but still out of range. As soon as she was delivered, no one was mentioning it so I had to ask, "Is she?" She was perfectly normal so the doctor hadn't even thought about it!! If your baby only has one Downs marker, that's good. If it's the heart, they will have a doctor there ready to take her to surgery if needed. We had one on standby in case it was her kidneys. I wish you the best of luck!

Merry - posted on 08/08/2009

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Heather, Don't worry. There are so many false positives that you just never know. But I wanted to tell you that my first daughter has Down syndrome (she is not a down's baby!). She is healthy and so bright!!! Don't be discouraged. This is your baby, no matter what and your love will be just as strong or even stronger than it would have been with out having all these tests. BTW, my ultrasounds were all normal and no one suspected anything with my daughter. It will be okay! Stay positive and look for support. You are about to be blessed! And if your baby has special needs, it means God is trusting you with someone very precious!

Dawn - posted on 08/07/2009

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Hi Heather. Well, I have to say that my heart aches for you right now. I know how hard the wait is. I didn't have the "same" situation, but I had A LOT of scary situations with my pregnancy ultrasound and sorry to say the whole second half of my preg. At 15 wks. they found a spot on his bowel, called echogenic bowel, a dominate sign or symptom of Down Syndrome. So I too played the waiting game. They also thought he was going to have Dwarfism, I seen a special the last 14 weeks of my pregnancy at Cedar Sainia (sp?) and his heartbeat was very irregular the entire preg. We had A LOT of prayers coming our way on a continuous basis and as hard as is was, tried to stay positive. I DID do the amnio, because my doctor explained to me that if it was not Down Syndrome, it WAS something, and they needed to possibly know what it could be so that they could be prepared when he was born. The test came back negative. Heather, I am happy to say that I have a beautiful 11 month old, who is not a dwarf and does not have Down Syndrome or any other complication or syndrome as known of yet. In fact, he couldn't be more perfect if I picked him myself. :) I would do the test, just for your baby's sake so that your Doctor may be more prepared to help him when he/she is born IF there is something. But there are happy stories out there, of people who were told that something was wrong and it turned out OK. (It was actually recomended that we abort him :( ) I will keep you in my prayers and my thoughts will be with you. If your religious, look to your Lord. Chin up :) I know it's easier said than done, but it's best for both of you if your not stressed out.

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Erica - posted on 08/13/2009

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CVS testing does carry a higher risk for miscarriage than an amniocentesis. It also carries the risk of transverse limb deformities. I'd wait the extra two weeks for the amnio if you had to choose between the two. Especially if you do not plan to terminate regardless of the result, but would just like to be prepared. Remember, a lot of these screens are just that, screens - they are not absolutes, just indicators. God Bless.

Staci - posted on 08/07/2009

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If you do get the test, and they tell you your baby will not survive long after birth, I just wanted to tell you about this amazing no-profit, volunteer-type organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Here is their website:
http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/
Basically, at your request, they will come in during this emotional time and take amazing photographs of you, your baby, and your family. These are great keepsakes and heirloom photographs to remember your baby by. You will not be thinking about photographs during this time, but you will want something to remember your baby by later.
I pray you will not need to use this service, but I wanted to share it with you because I think it is amazing if so called for.
I am also pregnant, and my baby was found to have choroid plexus cysts in his tiny little brain at my 20 week ultrasound. I was told they are nothing to worry about, very common, and should go away before he's born. I'm trying not to worry about them. I have also been told that this could be related to Down Syndrome. I'm not worried about that either. My husband and I know we will love him no matter what.
Also, you asked about the risk of amniocentesis and miscarriage. I didn't see anyone give you a real answer about it, and most seemed to say there's no risk. That is not true at all. I will tell you the statistics. They are the reason I opted not to get the genetic testing done because I knew I wouldn't want the amnio or the CVS. For amniocentesis there is a 1 in 200 risk of miscarriage. For CVS there is a 1 in 100 risk. To me, these are scary odds. That's why I didn't do it.
I hope you find my information useful but not needed. I pray you and your baby are safe and healthy throughout the pregnancy and after birth. Hang in there!

Susan - posted on 08/06/2009

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Heather, I am sorry for the worry this pregnancy has caused you. As far as the 1 in 5 chance for the baby to have down syndrome...well, that's the same odds they gave me and as you know my son is fine. I don't, however, have any knowledge of the other issue that you wrote about. But I do agree with one of the previous posters....it does seem that these doctors almost want something to be wrong with the baby. I can't understand why they try to scare the living daylights out of us when we are going through such a stressful time already. The odds that they gave you....1 in 134....are not bad odds. Please, try not to worry too much. Trust me I know that it is easier said than done. I remember not sleeping for 4 days waiting for my amnio results to come back. But worry won't change the outcome and can only hurt you and cause stress on the baby. I will be thinking about you and sending prayers out for both you and the baby. Please keep us posted and if you need to talk about it, I'm always online.

Sara - posted on 08/05/2009

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I'm a diabetic too, and boy did they put me through the ringer when pregnant...they scared the crap outta me with all the tests and everything they wanted to do! I know it's easier said then done, but don't worry too much about it until there's something to worry about. Do you know how many tests they do where they think they see something but when the baby is born they are perfectly healthy? Please just try to keep that in mind! Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and please keep us all updated!

Patricia - posted on 08/05/2009

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Wow, Heather you are AMAZING!!! Keep the faith and we trust that all will work out well in the end. I will follow this thread with interest. All the best for the rest of your pregnancy. PB

Phylicia - posted on 07/21/2009

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hey, so i just had my baby april 20th 2009 and i was told the same thing about my baby while pregnant, i was so scared so i had to wait like a week or two to find out for sure. they did a blood study and a more abvanced ultrasound. in the end they didnt find anything wrong with her and when she was born she was born healthy.

p.s. her heart beat was like 128 and they said that babies heart beat rate differently so i wouldnt worry myself with it, i would just pray about, but let me kno how everything goes and i pray that everything goes well.

Heather - posted on 07/21/2009

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Well went to dr today and blood work didnt have positive results. The chances of having a baby with Downs is 1 in 5. That i can live with. Its the other results that have me worried. Trisomy 18/13, the baby has a 1 in 134 chances of not making it after she is born. I think i am going to have the amino not for the Downs but for the other. I want to know if my baby will live after she is born. I want to try and be prepared for want may happen. I will not terminate the baby no matter what amino says.

Heather - posted on 07/21/2009

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Well, i went to dr today andmy results werent good. The baby has a 1 in 5 chance of having down syndrome. That i can live with. Its the other that the blood work showed. Trisomy 18/13, the baby has a 1 in 134 chance of living after birth. I think im going to go ahead with the amino to see bout this 18/13 to see if the baby has it. i want to know if my baby will live after its born. It will not change my mind of have the baby but at least i will be able to be prepared for what may happen. I want to know if my baby will live after birth.

Christy - posted on 07/18/2009

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Okay Heather...here's the lowdown on Downs & OTHER defects w/in them: I have an aunt that had 1 Downs son naturally & years later after remarrying, adopted another son & daughter with Downs. The oldest has spent weeks in the emergency room, ICU, and on various machines because of clots that have formed from lack of exercise. We suspect that some of his "laziness" is from medication for ADHD & respiratory issues he's had all his life. The younger son is the exact opposite of the ADHD spectrum & comprehends on a much higher level, communicating well beyond his older brother. He had heart surgery when he was just a few weeks & again at a few months old. After his second surgery, he started walking on all 4s (never crawled once) & then found he could run this way, too. He's been the Energizer Bunny ever since. He's on medications to slow him down (trust me, they haven't found the right dosages yet!). The youngest, a daughter, is so close to normal it's not even worth worrying about. She communicates VERY well, even mimicking people verbatim. She, too, had a heart surgery when she was a baby, but hasn't had any problems since. These 3 kids have blessed so many lives, not just of their families (obviously) but even to other families and schoolmates.



The main idea of this is to let you know that just because a child is sick & might need extra care doesn't mean they're not real people or have feelings. This is especially true when it's your own child...a heart defect is nothing to be taken lightly, but can rank on the same likelihood/severity scale as asthma, cleft palates and arthritis; these things have been treated and dealt with for ages! It comes down to this: you do what you have to for your child. I hope this doesn't scare you, but gives you a better reality of how it can be. Please contact me if you feel you need more insight on this particular issue, I'll be glad to help how I can.

Heather - posted on 07/16/2009

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Thanks. The Downs i can live with im just worried there might be a heart defect.

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I wonder if the doctors even know how much they are scaring us with their tests and discussion of possible problems. My ultrasound did not reveal any problems, but the doctor acted so surprised at the good news that it was almost like she expected the baby to have problems! Thanks a lot! Then the "genetic counselor" asked me if I wanted counselling. I said no, why should I? The ultrasound didn't reveal any problems, and again she acted like I was crazy. So, as everyone says, don't let them scare you. My friend was told that her baby would be Down syndrome and he wasn't. Even if your baby is, we know a family at church with a Downs daughter and she is so sweet and friendly--people with Downs children say they are very loving, although I'm sure it is difficult at times too. But you don't even have anything true to worry about yet, so be happy to be expecting! Congratulations!

Junie - posted on 07/16/2009

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Hi - I have a niece that went through all this so when my daughter-in-law became pregnant with twins and they started with the 'thick skin', I talked to my niece who spoke with my d-i-l. Result? My niece told her that she let the doctors know right then and there that no matter what the results of any tests were, she was going to keep her baby. SO, if you want to save yourself a lot of stress just opt out. Tell them you do not want a blood test, you do not want an amnio, etc. They will try like heck to get you to do the blood work. Just keep saying no, nicely. Have any of you picked up on this? Its called CYA disease. All the doctors have it. They don't want to get sued so they opt to tell you any and every little thing and believe me they will do all the tests if you let them - they get paid for this! they ease your mind! (yeah, right) and in the end if you have a baby with problems they don't get sued because they let you know ahead of time that there might be a slight possibility of something being wrong. Unless there is a chance that there is something they could 'fix in utero' opt out. You will love your baby and that is the end of that. I hope the remainder of your pregnancy is blessed and lacking in stress. STRESS is not good for you or your baby. Grandma to 7 !

Heather - posted on 07/16/2009

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Thank you for all the positive feedback. I am so hoping this test is wrong. I just the baby to healthy and make it full term

Arlana - posted on 07/16/2009

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Hi Heather. I think all these tests they do make pregnancy far more stressful that in needs to be, as if expectant mommies didn't have enough to worry about...

When I was pregnant with my twins nearly five years ago I was high risk because I have lupus and therefore saw a high-risk OB-Gyn. She did an ultrasound at my first appointment, and told me there was evidence of thickening on the back of the neck. There was a lot of information hurled at me during that appointment, especially the fact that if one twin was "sick" and I miscarried one twin, the other could die as a result of being in the womb with the "sick" twin and there was a complicated explanation of how this could occur. Well, my girls are 3 1/2 now, both healthy, beautiful little girls much like their 7 year old sister who was identified as having an increased risk of Down's in-vitro through one of the many blood tests they give you during pregnancy. I STRESSED OUT both times and at the end of the day, none of these fears became a reality, and if they had, I still planned on continuing both pregnancies and loving MY babies with every fiber of my being. That's what matters at the end of the day. Ultimately, many of these tests are highly unreliable,and I wonder sometimes why they continue to use them and stress out mothers-to-be. Enjoy your pregnancy mama!

Irina - posted on 07/15/2009

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There is another invasive test CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling) that can be done 11-13 weeks if you want the results earlier than amnio ( for amnio you have to wait at least till 16 weeks)

Paulina - posted on 07/15/2009

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Dear Heather, I suggest you request an Amnio testing, and that way you can sleep at night. They normally do it between the 16-18 weeks (I think). I was really scared, but had it done and it is not harmful for you or the baby. It is over in 5 minutes and you just need to take it easy. Not worth it to worry about it now right? My dad told me something really wise, when he said to me that there is nothing I can do about it, not even if I hang myself upside down, so hope this helps : )

Heather - posted on 07/15/2009

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Hi Miekko. Thanks for responding. Yea the heartrate has me a little worried. 122. Your daughter has nothing wrong with her heart. Did you have the echo ultrasound done?

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Hi Heather. Please don't let the doctors scare you. I had these exact issues. My little girl now 9 had all the markers for down syndrome, and fortunately she doesn't have it. My little girl has a rare dwarf syndrome. Her heart rate was never more than 130 from the time they could monitor it until the day she was born. I had the blood test done too, and that showed nothing. I did opt for the amnio, and everyone is different, I had no problems with it, or from it. Keep your faith. You will know if there is something wrong.

Amy - posted on 07/15/2009

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It could be nothing to worry about...When I was active duty, one of my peers had gone through this, every test they had done came out positive for Downs, when his wife had the baby...drum roll....perfectly healthy baby girl, no signs of Down. I know that is one case out of many, but it's really too early to stress, because even if all the tests come out bad, baby could still be 100% normal. Just take care of yourself, infact go spoil yourself for a little bit and try to be stress free for just a little bit. You'll feel better and so will baby ;)

Irina - posted on 07/15/2009

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At 11 or 12 weeks ultrasound screening, my doctor told me that one of my twins has a thick nuchal fold (I believe it was 2.8mm) and there is a possibility of Down syndrome. She right away started asking me if I would consider a termination of pregnancy which made me really mad. At 20 weeks, the nuchal folds on both babies were within normal range but they found something in my blood and put me in 1:7 risk for Down syndrome (normal for my age is about 1:250). My co-worker's daughter-in-law had 1:13 risk for Down and their baby was born with Down... Talking about stress... I had to go for a double amnio and waited 3 weeks for the results. I was SO happy to learn that the amnio results were normal. Of course, during the waiting period I was stressed and I cried every night. I have ultrasound training and I know there should be other signs of Down syndrome which my babies didn't have. This helped me a little to cope with the stress. My girls are 20 months now and perfectly healthy. I didn't do any genetic tests during my first pregnancy with my son and I didn't have any stress. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and remember that stress is not good for your baby.

Heather - posted on 07/15/2009

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Im a diabetic so im pretty high risk. Baby heartbeat was also only 122.

Susan - posted on 07/15/2009

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The risk is VERY slim that an amnio will cause miscarriage. When they do it they use the ultrasound machine to watch the baby while they withdraw the fluid. As long as you are healthy and this is not a high risk pregnancy you should be fine and it is the best way to find out for sure if the baby will have Down Syndrome. I was a nervous wreck myself so I do understand how you feel. What kind of blood test did they do? Maybe, if you just aren't comfortable with having an amnio, ask the doctor how accurate the test you just had will be. If you are satisfied with the answer you get then an amnio isn't necessary. After all, it won't change anything, mostly it's for your peace of mind.

Heather - posted on 07/15/2009

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Thanks Susan and Marne. I will keep you all posted. Im just a nervous wreck waiting for the test results. Has any one heard bout miscarriage and amino being done. I dont think i want, if that the case

Susan - posted on 07/15/2009

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DO NOT LET THEM SCARE YOU!!!! The exact thing happened to me. I went in for a regular ultrasound and they told me he had a thickness on the back of his neck that is indicitive of Down Syndrome. They did an amniocentesis and there was nothing wrong with him at all. And he is 14 months old now, a healthy, happy little man with no problems. Hope all goes well for you and please let us know how you are and what you find out. Good Luck and God Bless you and your family.

Marne - posted on 07/15/2009

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Wonderful to hear that from you - that you will keep the baby regardless. I have two healthy kids so it might be easy for me to say, but 2 years ago a friend of mine had an abortion because she was expecting a down's baby. It was probably the saddest day of my life and I still battle to get over it. Hang in there, and I'm sure in 6 months time you'll let us know that your baby was born and she is the light of your life!

Heather - posted on 07/15/2009

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I want to thank everyone for the post you have sent, they have been very positive. It is helping in calming my nerves. Everyone keeps asking will i keep the baby and the answer is yes. I wasnt planning on this baby but this baby didnt ask to be born, why would it be my choice to not to have this baby. I just want to be more prepared for when this baby arrives. I hope the ultrasound is wrong and i have a healthy baby, but whatever the outcome, the baby is mine and she will be cherished and loved.

Anna - posted on 07/15/2009

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Hi, I am sorry to hear about your results, I know how stressful that can be. I decided to get the genetic testing down w/ my first child at 12 weeks, it showed a thickness at the neck and they informed me that he was very likely to be born w/ Downs. They told me I could either have and amnio done to confirm or do a level three ultrasound. I decided to refuse the amnio b/c of the risk of miscarriage and my husband and I decided this is our baby and we would love him regardless. I did however get a level three ultrasound where they looked for Down's markers, they told me they did not see any but still could not completely rule out Downs. I was a nervous wreck my entire pregnancy. My son was born completely healthy! No Downs Syndrome, I totally agree w/ Stina ultrasounds are NOT always accurate, so hang in there! Wishing you the best, good luck.

Stina - posted on 07/14/2009

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Any ultrasound result that makes the doctors want to look further or do other tests is so stressful. I'm sorry you are having to go through this.



None of my ultrasounds showed this particular thing... but I've had my share of repeated looks because something may not be quite right. We all want healthy, normal babies and when that vision is jarred before we've even gotten very far into the pregnancy, it's more stress added on top of the normal stress of becoming a parent.



My son had a two cell umbilical chord wich is sometimes a sign that there is a congenital defect but often, there is nothing wrong with the baby whatsoever. As he developed further, they thought they saw some asymetry in his heart wich worried them, but they couldn't tell if it really was or was not asymetrical. Long story short, he was born quite sick, spent time in the hospital before coming home, but is now a healthy boy nearly 5 years old.



Second baby, we figured we'd beat the odds of having a sick kid already- so it was a slim chance for us to have another sick baby... And they saw calcification on her heart... they had me running in for repeat ultrasounds and were measureing the thickness at the back of the neck and asking if I wanted them to test my amniotic fluid. I was so scared that I might be having another sick baby like my son. Finally I asked them very directly exactly what it might be that my baby could have- the answer was Down Syndrome. I was actually relieved and wished they had told me sooner. A slim chance of Down Syndrome at that. My Daughter was perfectly healthy.



Bottom line with ultrasounds- sometimes they pick up on things that may be wrong and it's a good tool for preparing Doctors to be ready at delivery and for giving parents a chance to prepare for the challenges of a sick baby rather than getting all the shock at one time. Other times, they pick up things that are really nothing at all. So try not to worry. When the blood test comes back, you'll be able to know. Ask your doctor how accurate the blood test is. And if your baby is a Down Syndrome baby, you can get connected with other moms of Down Syndrome babies before the big birthday. I have known several families with Down Syndrome kids- and they are a huge blessing. It's hard to have a special needs child, (my son does have a speech delay and minor cognitive delays) but it is also a great blessing.

Heather - posted on 07/14/2009

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thanks. im 34 yrs old. they said the nose bone looked good, it was just the neck.

Shana - posted on 07/14/2009

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I didn't have these same results, but here is how it works....depending on your age there is a certain risk ratio....that risk goes either up or down based on the measurements. (If they find a good nose bone to measure that is a good sign as often down babies have littler nose bones.) Then they do the blood work. After the blood work your risk ratio changes again. If it comes in under a certain level then they recommend an amnio. For example.....I am 35...my ratio in my current pregnancy in terms of risk for Down's Syndrome was 1:270. After the neck fold measurements the risk ratio improved to 1:440. Then I had the blood work done. After the results were in my risk factor improved to 1:3,300....My doctor also took a good look at the upper lip and nose bone, the heart chambers, etc.....And then I opted not to have an amnio because they (out here in Germany) don't recommend it for risk factors above 1:1000.

I ope that this helps somewhat...Good luck!

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