The 13 week ultrasound (the official name is the First Trimester Structural Ultrasound Examination) is an ultrasound that is offered to all pregnant women who are under the care of a midwife or gynaecologist. It is fully reimbursed by the health insurance. The ultrasound may take place between a pregnancy of 13 and 14 weeks and three days.
Officially it is possible to perform the 13-week ultrasound a little sooner in pregnancy, but we do not opt for that at Echo Amsterdam because of the high chance that not all structures and organs are to be properly visualized because the baby will be just too small.
The 13-week ultrasound is part of an official national population survey. For this reason, there are strict agreements and regulations to plan and carry out this research. We can and may only perform the 13-week ultrasound within the specified gestational age.
During the 13 week ultrasound, the sonographer will look at all visible organs and structures of the baby. For example, the sonographer assesses the skull, brain, heart, abdomen, arms and legs and the spine. We try to detect any abnormalities in the baby at an early stage.
The 13 week ultrasound is basically an ultrasound that takes place through the abdomen. Because the baby is still very small at this stage of the pregnancy, it can sometimes happen that the ultrasound technician cannot properly assess all structures through the abdomen. The sonographer will then ask for your permission to make a vaginal ultrasound in order to be able to properly assess the structures in question. You are not obliged to do this and can therefore refuse this.
It is important to know that occasionally something cannot be seen properly, for example when you come very early for the ultrasound and the baby is still too small, or when the baby is not in a good position. Of course we will do everything we can to be able to perform all parts of the examination properly, but if we cannot see something well, there is no possibility to come back again with this ultrasound. What has not been seen will then be reviewed with the 20 week ultrasound (SEO).
We are not allowed to say anything about the sex of the baby during the 13-week ultrasound. This means you won’t be told whether it is a boy or a girl. If you want to know that before the 20 week ultrasound, you will have to make an extra appointment.
During the ultrasound, you will immediately the sonographer will immediately tell you what she sees and discuss everything with you. If something is seen that might be wrong with the baby, the sonographer will let your midwife know. Your midwife may then arrange a more extensive ultrasound in a hospital.
Our sonographers need to concentrate themselves in order to make a good medical scan. Therefor it’s not allowed to bring children to your medical scan.
The midwife will provide extensive information about this examination so that you can make a good choice whether or not you want to have this examination performed. It is not mandatory to have the 13 week ultrasound done.