Antenatal diagnostics:
High-resolution diagnostic ultrasound / Foetal abnormality screening (DEGUM II)

Pregnancy stage: 20 - 22 weeks

The organ ultrasound (also known as high-resolution diagnostic ultrasound or differential ultrasound) is substantially more comprehensive than the ultrasound examination that is prescribed at this period in the German Pregnancy Guidelines .  In addition to special equipment, it also requires that the examiner hold a special qualification (DEGUM II.)

Procedure for the examination

Under ideal examination conditions, in which the position of the baby and the thickness of the maternal abdominal wall play an important role, a comprehensive ultrasound examination takes about 45 to 50 minutes. This includes a thorough examination and assessment of the foetus’s organs and limbs:

  • the foetus will be measured to ensure it is growing normally
  • the quantity of amniotic fluid and the position and appearance of the placenta
  • the appearance and function of all visible organs including the heart
  • the blood flow through the umbilical cord and the uterine blood flow (to assess placental function and development)



Meaning and consequences

This comprehensive examination serves primarily to make an exact diagnosis if anything abnormal is detected during antenatal care and to support women whose pregnancies are at risk.

If a disease or an abnormality is detected in the child, we can determine the consequences for the rest of the pregnancy (e.g., additional diagnostics or treatments) or for the birth (e.g., involvement of other specialists, choice of maternity hospital) together with the patient and in good time.

The ultrasound helps many parents-to-be form a closer bond with their unborn child. A normal organ ultrasound gives them a sense of security and calm throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. Any antenatal examination can also reveal unexpected abnormalities, however, which places the parents in a situation where they must decide about further examinations and consequences.

Costs covered

The costs for foetal abnormality screening are only covered by statutory health insurance if there is an indication – for example, in case of previous abnormal findings or if a couple have already had an ill or disabled child.  Otherwise   we offer this examination as an independent individual health service (IGeL).


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