Ultrasound scans in pregnancy
Many pregnant women and their partners look forward to ultrasound scans. But getting that all-important first picture of your child is, of course, not the reason why pregnant women in Germany are offered ultrasound scans. Instead, the aim is to make sure that the pregnancy is progressing normally and the child is developing well.
In Germany, pregnant women with statutory health insurance are usually offered three standard ultrasound scans at no extra cost. They are sometimes also referred to as examinations.
The main purpose of these three standard ultrasound scans is to determine whether the pregnancy and the child's development are progressing normally. Generally speaking, 96 to 98 out of 100 pregnant women give birth to a healthy child. But the ultrasound sometimes detects abnormalities that lead to further examinations – and maybe some difficult decisions as well.
Doctors are required to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of ultrasounds before carrying them out. Germany's Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) has published a detailed information booklet as a guide. Every pregnant woman has the right not to have one or all of the ultrasound scans without giving a reason. Deciding not to have a scan doesn’t affect your insurance coverage.
It’s best to talk with your doctor before the scan to discuss whether you want to see the ultrasound images and which results you want to know. If you don’t want to know the sex of your child or other things they might see, it’s important to make that clear beforehand.