Available at these locations in Alberta:

Grande Prairie

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Nuchal Translucency

A nuchal translucency ultrasound is performed in order to estimate the risk of your baby being born with Down’s Syndrome (Trisomy 21). This procedure uses ultrasound pulsing, emitted through a wand-like transducer, in order to measure the skin thickness at the back of the fetus’s neck. It is generally performed between 11 weeks and 13 weeks, 6 days.

Lab testing and results

Patients are eligible for same day nuchal translucency laboratory testing in Grande Prairie.  Please download the laboratory requisition and take it to your Family Doctor or OBGYN.  Shift Imaging will complete the form after your exam, you may then proceed to the Lab for collection.  The risk analysis (combined ultrasound findings and lab results) will be completed by the University of Alberta, Department of Biochemical Genetics.  You will receive a mailed copy of your results directly from the Lab.  Shift Imaging will fax the results of your ultrasound to your doctor.


Special Instructions

  • Take all prescription medications as instructed
  • Many of these exams require a full bladder and it’s important to let your practitioner know if this makes you uncomfortable. If you have problems keeping a full bladder, you may arrive early to drink your water at the clinic
  • You should empty your bladder 90 minutes prior to your appointment
  • Drink 1 liter of water and have a snack between 90 and 60 minutes prior to your appointment
  • Should you be uncomfortable with such a full bladder, you may relieve your bladder of a small amount of urine but not all
  • Your skin should be kept clean and free of body oils, moisturizers and powders
  • Your clothing should be lightweight, comfortable and suitable for easy access to the skin of the area in question
  • Please arrive at least 15 minutes in advance
  • Once the exam is underway, your sonographer will inform you as soon as you may empty your bladder partially or totally, as we understand that a full bladder can be uncomfortable


  • Due to the status of the current covid-19 outbreak, we are regrettably only able to permit 1 guest at the conclusion of your exam.  Please provide a reliable method of contact for your guest when booking your appointment.  Your guest must be negative for signs of symptoms of covid-19 and wait outside the facility until the Technologist is ready for their arrival.  Your guest will then receive a phone-call and further instruction from Shift Imaging Personnel.
  • You may be asked to change into a gown, to give the sonographer better access to the skin of your uterine area
  • A warm, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic gel will be applied to the skin near your uterus and stomach
  • A wand-like transducer will be moved over the lubricated surface of your stomach area, in order to locate the fetus and capture images of your baby
  • Some pressure may be applied with the wand, in order to accurately measure your baby’s head, abdomen and leg bones to correlate your date
  • The nuchal measurement has very exacting criteria for the sonographer, so the test length will vary depend on your baby being in the correct position to obtain the measurement
  • The length of your exam will depend on how active your baby is, as well as its positioning
  • Be sure to let the practitioner know, should you need to move into a more comfortable position at any time during this exam
  • Your sonographer will endeavor to complete this exam in a timely manner, with the results and images to be discussed at the end of the ultrasound


Our radiologists will interpret your information and aim to forward the results to your doctor by the end of the next working day.


This exam is covered under the Alberta Health Care Plan.