Can ultrasound catch all birth defects

No. Ultrasounds can see many birth defects but they can not see them all. The fetal anatomy scan is usually done around 20 weeks. During this scan the technician will have a standard list of measurements to take and things to look for.

Sometimes the technician might see something called a "marker" and they are often referred to as a soft or hard marker. These markers can indicate a defect or they might be nothing at all. If you doctor finds a number of markers they might recommend additional fetal testing.

During routine ultrasounds some benign things way be seen as well. Your doctor will discuss the findings with you and they will discuss what further testing might be needed. Some birth defects can be completely ruled out by ultrasound. If there is something specific you are concerned about be sure to ask your doctor.

01
4Katie
Moms Expertise
05/31/14
4Katie
My daughter had a rare defect with her heart, the defect didn't cause any problems but it was a soft marker for a much large problem. Since she only had one soft marker they were not concerned. The doctor said if she had three or more soft markers they would worry that she had some form of tristomy and would have recommended an amnio to check. A hard marker would have been more for sure.
1
About Katie
Birth: November 24
On Moms.com since: Jan 21, 2014
***Community Manager of Moms.com*** Mom to four amazing children. I am passionate about helping and supporting new moms as they enter into motherhood. I am a certified doula, certified childbirth educator and an accredited breastfeeding counselor.