Anomaly Scan

Anomaly Scan

What is Anomaly Scan ?

The anomaly scan is a detailed ultrasound scan, also called the mid-pregnancy. It is usually carried out when you’re between 18 and 20 weeks pregnant.

This 20-week scan is offered to everybody who is pregnant.

Why is Anomaly Scan done ?

This scan is done to monitor the development of your baby. It is done to rule out any gross anomaly in your baby so that appropriate intervention can be timely undertaken. There are minor chances that some of the anomalies can be missed, despite the scan which we will get to know only after the birth of the baby.

A detailed assessment of your baby’s brain, spinal cord, bones, face, heart, kidneys, lungs, and abdomen is done with this scan.

Preparation for Anomaly Scan

The anomaly scan is carried out in the same way as your early pregnancy scans. It usually produces 2-dimensional (2-D) images that give only a side view of the baby. If required, a 3-dimensional (3-D) scan can also be done.

These specialised scans are done by trained sonographers. Usually, the scan is done in the room that is dimly lit so as obtain better quality images for the baby. 

You will be asked to lie down on a couch for the scan, lift your top to your chest, and to lower your trousers so as to uncover your abdomen.

Usually, the assistant will tuck a tissue around your clothes so as to protect them from the gel that will be applied to your tummy.

Some gel will be applied to your belly, which might feel a little cold. Then an ultrasound probe is used to get some pictures of your baby’s body. The gel will ensure good that there is good contact between your skin and the probe.

Several factors like the age, the position of your baby, and the liquor around your baby can affect the quality of the images obtained. Your body weight also affects the image quality as it might interfere with the penetration of the ultrasound waves

What is the process of Anomaly Scan?

Mostly the scan will show the normal growth of your baby. But, sometimes the sonologist might find/suspect something anomalous.

In case of any anomaly detected, the doctor may offer you another test to confirm it.

There are chances that certain conditions can be missed on the mid-anomaly scan which we will get to know later in the pregnancy or after the birth of the baby.

Certain conditions like open spina bifida (abnormality of the spinal cord), anencephaly (brain abnormality) are picked up more easily on scan with the detection rate of 9 out of 10 the babies.

Heart defects are more difficult to be picked up with a scan with a detection rate of only 5 out of the 10 babies born with heart defects.

Certain condition like cleft lip/ cleft palate seen on the anomaly scan will require surgical intervention after the birth of the baby.

Rarely, serious anomalies are diagnosed on the scan which is incompatible with life and no treatment is available. In such cases, you will be given an option of termination of pregnancy.

In case of any doubt in the scan findings, you may be offered some other test to confirm the same.

What Are the Risks?

The anomaly scan usually doesn’t have any specific risks.

Slight pressure applied to your belly in order to get better views may be a little uncomfortable.

You might feel a little cold, once the gel is applied to your abdomen.

You may need to come to the clinic with a full bladder for the anomaly scan. The doctor will confirm the same with you while giving the appointment. 

Sometimes, it can get a little difficult to get good views of your baby, if the baby is moving a lot during the scan, or lying in some awkward position. However, this doesn’t mean that anything is wrong and you need not worry about it.

Ultrasound scans use only sound waves, these are safe for your baby. 

There are no serious risks associated with the anomaly scan.

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