Quality Requirements for the early Fetal Ultrasound Assessment at 11-13+6 Weeks of Gestation (DEGUM Levels II and III)

Ultraschall Med. 2016 Jun;37(3):297-302. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-105514. Epub 2016 Apr 19.


The early fetal ultrasound assessment at 11 - 13(+6) weeks of gestation remains the cornerstone of care despite the progress in diagnosing fetal chromosomal defects using cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA) from the maternal circulation. The measurement of nuchal translucency (NT) allows the risk calculation for the fetal trisomies 21, 18 and 13 but also gives information on those fetal chromosomal defects which are at present unable to be detected using cffDNA. Nuchal translucency is the only auditable parameter at 11 - 13(+6) weeks and gives thus information on the quality of the first trimester anomaly scan. In addition it gives indirect information on the risks for fetal defects and for cardiac anomalies. Also the chances for a healthy live baby can be estimated. As experience with first trimester anomaly scanning increases, and the resolution of the ultrasound equipment has increased substantially, more and more details of the fetal anatomy become accessible at the first trimester scan. Therefore fetal anatomical defects and complex anomalies have become amenable to examination in the first trimester. This guideline describes compulsory and optional parameters for investigation at the first trimester scan and outlines a structured method of examining a first trimester fetus at 11 - 13(+6) weeks of gestation.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biometry
  • Chromosome Aberrations / embryology
  • Endosonography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nuchal Translucency Measurement / standards
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / standards*
  • Societies, Medical
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler / standards
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / standards*