Pregnancy is full of milestones – the positive test, the first appointment, getting to that 12 week mark, the first kicks. But it’s hard to beat the anomaly scan, which is performed usually between 20 and 22 weeks.
The number of scans you receive during your pregnancy varies wildly between hospitals and consultants – some mums to be report having scans at every visit, while for others, they might only receive one scan. But however many you receive, in a pregnancy with no complications, no scan will be as detailed or as important as the anomaly scan midway through the nine months.
First, the good news, generally, unless otherwise indicated, you do not need a full bladder for this scan. A full bladder is beneficial in the first trimester because then the baby is situated slightly higher and a better picture can be obtained, but by 20 weeks, usually this is not needed. However, if in doubt, check with your doctor.
An anomaly scan is a more detailed scan that checks the anatomy of your baby. It is usually possible to tell the gender at this scan – if baby is playing ball!
The scan will check:
- The shape and structure of your baby’s head
- The baby’s face, especially for signs of a cleft lip, spine and abdominal wall
- The placenta, umbilical cord and the amniotic fluid
- Your baby’s heart, and to make sure the four chambers are all working normally
- Your baby’s stomach, kidneys and bladder which are now working, as well as the arms, legs and feet
If, for any reason, an anomaly scan is not offered as part of your hospital care, it is possible to have this done privately in a scanning clinic. Or, if you want to find out your baby’s gender but this wasn’t possible at your hospital scan, some private scanning clinics offer a gender scan.