Some women are offered a foetal anomaly scan at around the 20 week mark of their pregnancy, but it is not an available option for everyone. While it’s not part of the routine exam, the scan helps to discover any developing abnormalities. You can also find out your baby’s sex from this scan – if the baby cooperates!
What are anomaly scans?
Anomaly scans are similar to the regular ultrasounds you receive throughout your pregnancy. The difference is they specifically look for anomalies or differences in the development of the baby. An anomaly scan will focus on the baby’s brain, heart and lungs and show any defects or irregular development.
When do you get one?
Usually an anomaly scan will take place midway through your pregnancy, about 20 weeks on.
Why should you get one?
- Regular scans will not show any defects or inconsistencies in foetal development. You could have a perfectly normal pregnancy, and then find out once your baby is born that they may have to undergo medical treatment in order to live outside the womb.
- Conditions such as spina bifida, and other heart problems can be diagnosed through an anomaly scan.
- Early diagnosis – if the baby’s condition is known before they exit the womb, then the hospital can be prepared to administer treatment from the moment they are born.
- By looking closely at the anatomy of the baby, the scan will also be able to check the baby’s gender, if you’re willing to find out!
What will the scan check?
- Head size and shape.
- Baby’s face – to check for cleft lip.
- The spine.
- Abdominal wall.
- The heart – specifically the two atria and two ventricles.
- The stomach.
- The kidneys.
- Arms, legs, hands and feet.
- Positioning of the placenta.