20 weeks Echo

You can have a 20-week ultrasound made, but it is certainly not compulsory. During this ultrasound, a physical examination is done with your baby. In this way possible deviations can be detected. Read here how a 20 weeks Echo in his work, what deviations can be detected and whether you will finally know the sex.

20-week ultrasound when?

You may not be surprised that the 20-week ultrasound is performed when you are about twenty weeks pregnant. So on the half of your pregnancy! It does not have to take place exactly in the twentieth week of your pregnancy. The ultrasound can be made between 18 and 21 weeks. Before you get the 20-week ultrasound, your midwife will first discuss with you what the ultrasound entails.

You can also always decide not to have this ultrasound done. People can have various reasons for this. For example because they do not want to know if their baby has abnormalities. Because that is the goal of a 20-week ultrasound. This is not the case in about 95% of cases. The 20-week ultrasound must be performed by a professional ultrasound operator. You will probably have to go to the hospital.

20 weeks echo how is that?

A 20-week ultrasound is a bit like the first ultrasound you've had. You have to lie on your stomach for the ultrasound. Then you get some gel on your stomach and the ultrasound operator moves with an echo head over your stomach. You can see on a screen what is going on in your womb and so also your little baby! You do not feel anything about it yourself and your baby does not.

The 20-week ultrasound lasts about half an hour. In this half hour you will see if your baby has any abnormalities. This can be a bit exciting, but remember that most children are born healthy. Only 5 to 3% get bad news during this ultrasound. Always take someone with you so that you have support if it is wrong. And if it's not wrong, it's super fun to share this experience with a friend. Preferably with your partner.

Is the 20-week ultrasound reimbursed by the health insurance? Yes, it is part of the basic package.

20-week ultrasound gender

One of the nicest things about the 20-week ultrasound is that you will probably be told what kind of sex your baby has. In any case: if you want to know. Super exciting of course! Then you can immediately plan your gender reveal party! But actually this echo is not aimed at finding out the gender. That is just a nice extra. Of course it remains your choice whether you want to hear the gender. It may be that the ultrasound operator can not tell you the gender, simply because your baby is a bit too prudish and does not show it. If you really want to know, you can always request a nice echo.

20 weeks of ultrasound abnormalities

A 20-week ultrasound is used to detect physical abnormalities early. The following deviations can be seen during the echo:

  • Open back
  • Open skull
  • Hole or break in the abdominal wall
  • Whether the diaphragm contains a fracture
  • Clubfoot
  • Schisis (hare lip)
  • Absence of the kidneys or a kidney abnormality
  • Deviations to legs and arms
  • Heart defects
  • Deviations from the bones

Unfortunately, the ultrasound operator can not see all deviations on the 20-week ultrasound. Consider, for example, mental disorders or down syndrome. It is also possible that a certain abnormality could not be seen on the echo, while your baby is still suffering from it. If the ultrasound is good, it is no guarantee that your baby has no abnormalities.

Statement: Would you choose an abortion if your unborn baby is wrong?

20 weeks of ultrasound not good

And what if one of your nightmares comes to life? That your baby has a deviation? What happens then? In that case, it is first determined whether a follow-up study is needed. Sometimes the ultrasound operator may see a deviation, but this is not serious and will automatically disappear over time. You will have to come over again later in the pregnancy for an ultrasound to see if it has indeed disappeared.

Follow-up research

When a serious abnormality is visible, follow-up research is needed. You will then be referred to a specialist in Prenatal Diagnostics. This will be in the hospital. During this research you will get an advanced ultrasound examination (GUO). A GUO is a bit similar to a 20-week ultrasound, but it takes longer and the specialist can see more. In the follow-up research it is probably possible to determine what the deviation is exactly and what the consequences are for your child. A follow-up investigation is not mandatory. You can always choose not to do it.

Your child has a deviation, because now?

The options from which you can choose if your baby has a deviation are entirely dependent on the type of deviation. It can also be very easy and time will heal the wounds. But it may also be that further steps are needed.
Whatever is needed, you always decide for yourself what will happen. The options you have if your baby has a deviation:

  • Still waiting: It is not yet clear what the deviation is or how it will develop further.
  • Treatment: Some abnormalities can be treated, sometimes during pregnancy. In other cases, surgery is needed shortly after delivery and you will have to give birth in a specialist hospital.
  • Abolishing pregnancy: This will be a very, very difficult choice, but you may choose to terminate the pregnancy because the abnormalities are too serious for your baby. You can terminate your pregnancy until you are 24 weeks pregnant.

20 weeks of ultrasound experiences

A 20-week ultrasound feels very double for many women. On the one hand, it is very nice to see your little baby again. Of course, women who want to know the sex of the baby are already very excited. But on the other hand, this ultrasound investigation is also exciting for another reason.
Many forget that a 20-week ultrasound is not a fun ultrasound, but an ultrasound to see if your baby has abnormalities. Although the probability of this is only 5 out of 100, there is a chance. And of course you want your baby to be healthy.

Always go well, but take someone to the 20 weeks ultrasound so that person can support if something is wrong.


Another small tip: if you have an ultrasound, do not put on onesie but something that makes it easy to uncover your belly while you are covered by it yourself. It takes about half an hour.

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