What is the 20-weeks scan?
The 20-week echo is also called the routine ultrasonographic test (SEO in Dutch). This test examines the physical deviations of the unborn child. This echo thoroughly examines the development of the child’s vital organs. Furthermore, it looks into the growth of the child and if there is sufficient amniotic fluid. Examples of deviations that can be spotted during this echo include:
• An open back/ spina bifida;
• An open skull;
• Waterhead/ hydrocephalus;
• Heart diseases;
• Rupture or hole in the diaphragm;
• Rupture or hole in the abdominal wall;
• Lack of or deviation of the kidneys;
• Lack of or deviation of bones;
• Deviations of arms or legs.
The 20-week echo is not intended to determine the sex of your child.
The 20-week echo is just like the other echoes during your pregnancy. It takes approximately in between 30- 45 minutes.
The 20-week echo is conducted when you’re about 20 weeks pregnant. The ideal period lies between 19 and 22 weeks.
The sonographer will inform you about the results should they be troubling or if they doubt the outcome. You will hear this directly after the echo is done. Deviating results means that you’ll be examined further. The sonographer will advise you on the follow-up examination and discuss this with your midwife. Usually this results in an extensive sonographic examination. This is called ultrasound examination (GUO in Dutch) and is done at the VU Medical Center in Amsterdam. In some cases, it will appear that there is nothing to worry about. For those where health problems are detected, a follow-up study is of great importance. However it must be said that not all diseases are visible. In case of reference to follow-up examinations you can always contact your own midwife for advice and support.
How reliable is the 20-week echo?
The chance of discovering the disorder depends on the the type of disorder. For example, the chance that an open back/ spina bifida is discovered is approximately 90 out of 100. The chances of discovering heart diseases are 25 to 50 out of 100, depending on the severity of the disease. The 20-week echo is not a guarantee for a healthy child. Not all disorders can be noticed during the echo.
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