Early Anomaly Scan: What You Need to Know

What is an Early Anomaly Scan?

An early anomaly scan is a detailed ultrasound that is carried out during the second trimester of pregnancy, typically between 16 and 20 weeks. The scan is used to check for any physical abnormalities in your baby’s development. During the scan, your sonographer will carefully examine your baby’s organs and structures. They will look at the size and shape of your baby’s head, brain, heart, stomach, kidneys, bladder, limbs, and other organs. This scan is called an "anomaly scan" because it aims to identify any anomalies or differences from what is typically seen.

The importance of an early anomaly scan

The early anomaly scan is an essential part of routine antenatal care. Here are some reasons why it’s important:

Finding structural problems: The early anomaly scan can find structural problems in the baby, such as spina bifida, heart defects, or cleft lip and palate. When these conditions are found early, parents can prepare emotionally and make decisions about their pregnancy that are well-informed.

Identifying Multiple Pregnancies: If you’re carrying more than one baby, the early anomaly scan can detect the number of foetuses and check if they’re sharing a placenta.

Checking the Growth and Development of the Baby: The scan helps to check if the baby is growing and developing normally. The sonographer can measure the baby’s head circumference, abdominal circumference, and femur length to estimate the baby’s weight.

Assessing the Placenta and Amniotic Fluid: The early anomaly scan can find any problems with the placenta, such as placenta previa, and any problems with the amniotic fluid levels.

Reassurance: An early anomaly scan can reassure expectant parents that their baby is developing normally.

What to expect during an Early Anomaly Scan

An experienced sonographer in the hospital performs the early anomaly scan. You’ll be asked to lie down on the examination bed, and the sonographer will apply a special gel to your abdomen. The gel helps the sound waves from the ultrasound machine pass through the skin.

The sonographer will then move the transducer over your stomach to take pictures of the baby. You may feel some slight pressure or discomfort, but the scan is not painful.

During the scan, the sonographer will look at the brain, heart, lungs, spine, and other parts of the baby's body. They’ll also check the placenta, umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid. The scan takes approximately 30 minutes to complete, and you’ll be able to see the images of your baby on the monitor.

What happens if something is discovered?

If your sonographer finds something wrong with your body, your healthcare provider will talk to you about what it means. They may also send you to a specialist or other medical professional who can do more tests to figure out what's wrong or give your baby more specialised care. If everything is healthy, you can rest easy knowing that your baby is developing appropriately.

When is the best time to schedule an early anomaly scan?

It is recommended that you schedule your early anomaly scan between 16 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is because your baby’s organs and structures are fully formed by this time. The early anomaly scan is usually performed at a hospital or specialised ultrasound clinic.

Risks of the Early Anomaly Scan

The early anomaly scan is thought to be safe, and your baby does not face any major risks from it. However, like all medical procedures, there is always a small risk of complications, such as misdiagnosis. It is important to discuss any concerns you may have with your healthcare provider.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Bengaluru - Jayanagar. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. Can the early anomaly scan detect all birth defects?

No, the early anomaly scan cannot detect all birth defects. Some birth defects may only become apparent later in the pregnancy or after the baby is born.

2. What can I do to prepare for the early anomaly scan?

You should wear clothes that are loose and comfortable, and you shouldn't wear any jewellery or other items that might get in the way of the scan. You should also drink a lot of water before the procedure to make sure your bladder is full. This makes it easier for the technician to get clear images.

3. What if I have to go to the bathroom during the scan?

If you have to go to the bathroom during the scan, you should let the technician know. They may ask you to empty your bladder partially or completely, depending on the stage of the scan.

4. Is insurance a covered expense for the early anomaly scan?

Most insurance plans cover the early anomaly scan because it is considered an important diagnostic test during pregnancy. However, you should always check with your insurance company before going through with the procedure.

5. Can I bring someone with me to the early anomaly scan?

Yes, you can bring a partner or a friend with you to the early anomaly scan for support.

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