Prenatal screening

During your pregnancy, you can have your unborn child tested for a number of congenital conditions, such as Down’s, Edwards’ or Patau’s syndrome, spina bifida, or a heart defect. We call this prenatal screening. There are a number of tests available. It is up to you whether you want to have these tests done. During your intake we will ask you if you would like more information about this. We have already listed the screenings for you below.


The Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) involves taking a blood sample. This blood also contains a small amount of DNA from the placenta. This DNA is almost always the same as that of your baby. The laboratory can then determine whether your child has an indication for Down’s, Edwards’, or Patau’s syndrome. You can have the NIPT done from 10 weeks of your pregnancy.

13-week ultrasound

From September 1, 2021, you will be offered an ultrasound scan around the 13th week of your pregnancy. This ultrasound will be done in addition to the existing 20-week ultrasound to detect physical abnormalities in the baby. This new ultrasound is primarily intended to detect very serious abnormalities at an earlier stage, allowing more time for any follow-up examinations to determine the seriousness and consequences of the abnormality found.

The results of the ultrasound will be discussed with you immediately. You will not be told the sex of your baby. If any physical abnormality is suspected, you will be referred to AMC for follow-up testing. For each follow-up test you decide whether you want it done and what you do with the results.

The 13-week ultrasound, just like the 20-week ultrasound, is covered by your health insurance company. The 13-week ultrasound does not replace the 20-week ultrasound, because this can detect abnormalities that are not yet visible at the 13-week ultrasound. Nor is it a replacement for the NIPT. The NIPT has a different purpose: it tests for chromosomal abnormalities.

You can only have the 13-week ultrasound if you participate in the IMITAS scientific study and give permission for your data to be used. This study investigates the advantages and disadvantages of the 13-week ultrasound. Detecting physical abnormalities early in pregnancy can be an advantage but can also lead to more anxiety and uncertainty. In addition, the study will map out how pregnant women, their partners, and health care providers experience the ultrasound. The study will run until 2024. Thereafter, the Ministry of Health will decide whether this ultrasound scan will be offered as a regular screening during pregnancy.

During the intake with your midwife, we will provide you with more information about this. Click here if you already want more information about the 13-week ultrasound now.

20-week ultrasound

During the pregnancy, you can have an ultrasound at around 20 weeks to see if your baby has any physical defects. Among others, the ultrasound will look at the back, the skull, and the development of the baby’s organs. It also looks at whether your baby is growing properly and whether there is sufficient amniotic fluid. The 20-week ultrasound is not intended to determine the sex of your baby, but it can be seen with the right image and position.

If any abnormalities are seen at the 20-week ultrasound, the implications for the child are not always clear. You will usually be offered follow-up testing. The follow-up examination consists of a comprehensive ultrasound examination at a specialized hospital. Sometimes you will be offered an amniocentesis, a chorionic villus test, or a blood test. Each follow-up step is your own choice.

The 20-week ultrasound is covered by the basic health insurance.

During the intake with your midwife, we will provide you with more information about this. Click here if you want more information about the 20-week ultrasound now.

We will assist you and your partner in making a choice as to whether or not you wish to have the screening. On this website you will also find a decision aid Conscious decision making and tips on how to discuss with your partner or others whether you want these screenings. In addition, you can read stories from women who also had to choose whether or not to have this screening.

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