Ultrasound examination during pregnancy

The USZ offers the entire spectrum of prenatal ultrasound examinations, from routine ultrasound examinations to specialized diagnostics.

The ultrasound examination offers the possibility of examining the unborn child without harmful radiation and is therefore unproblematic for mother and child. A pregnancy ultrasound is performed either vaginally (through the vagina) or abdominally (via the pregnant woman’s abdomen).

State-of-the-art UltraHD/3-D ultrasound systems

A latest-generation ultrasound system has been in use in the USZ’s obstetrics department since June 2022. UltraHD/3-D ultrasonography enables a more detailed assessment of the fetal anatomy even under more difficult sound conditions. Using 3D sonography, normal and abnormal findings can often be better visualized and thus made more comprehensible for the parents-to-be.

Doppler ultrasound (named after its inventor Christian Doppler) can be used to measure the flow velocity in vessels and thus the blood flow to important organs. It is primarily used to monitor high-risk pregnancies, such as suspected fetal growth disorders or malformations in the fetus or maternal diseases.

Why ultrasound examinations?

Ultrasound can be used to monitor the development of the unborn child in the womb. If an abnormality is discovered, it is often important that clarifications are made quickly. On the one hand, this is to give the parents time to decide on a therapy and, on the other hand, not to miss the possible or best time for a possible prenatal intervention. But even if prenatal interventions are not possible or necessary, early diagnosis is important.

In Switzerland, two ultrasound examinations are normally carried out on all pregnant women. This in the following time intervals:

  • First trimester: 11+0 – 14+0 week of pregnancy
  • Second trimester: 19+0 – 22+0 weeks of pregnancy

If necessary, a further ultrasound examination is carried out in the third trimester. And if there are particular problems, we will carry out further ultrasound examinations depending on the issue.

Pregnancy ultrasound in the first trimester

The following is done during the pregnancy ultrasound in the first trimester:

  • Determining the gestational age and due date
  • Recognizing multiple pregnancies
  • Recognizing abnormalities or malformations (as early as possible)
  • First trimester test, i.e. the so-called nuchal translucency is measured for indications of a possible chromosomal disorder and combined with a blood sample from the mother to calculate a risk for the presence of trisomy 13, 18 or 21.

Pregnancy ultrasound in the second trimester

The following is usually done during a pregnancy ultrasound in the second trimester:

  • Recognizing malformations (organ development)
  • Determining the child’s position
  • Checking the amount of amniotic fluid
  • Measuring the child’s weight
  • Checking the position of the placenta and measuring its blood flow (using Doppler ultrasound)
  • If necessary, determine the sex of the child (we will disclose this on request)
  • Measuring the length of the cervix

Cost coverage in Switzerland

In Switzerland, two ultrasound examinations have been included in the scope of services for normal prenatal care since 26.04.1996. In the case of a high-risk pregnancy, additional ultrasound examinations are covered by basic insurance.

Our offer: Preventive check-ups and special consultation hours

At the USZ, we offer the scheduled routine ultrasound examinations as part of pregnancy care. Pregnant women can register for these at any time. In addition, we also have a special ultrasound consultation, to which patients are usually referred by their doctor after a routine examination has revealed a finding and more in-depth clarification is required.

For patients

You can either register yourself or be referred by your primary care physician, specialist.

Tel. +41 44 255 50 42

Emergency: +41 44 255 51 05

Registration for ultrasound

For referrering physicians

University Hospital Zurich
Department of Obstetrics
Frauenklinikstrasse 10
8091 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 255 50 42

Emergency: +41 44 255 51 05

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