Understanding Foetal Anomaly Scans: Everything You Need to Know

Pregnancy can be a stressful time, especially if you're worried about the health of your unborn baby. A fetal anomaly scan, also known as a mid-pregnancy ultrasound, is an important diagnostic test that can alleviate some of that anxiety. This non-invasive test is usually performed around the 20th week of pregnancy and is designed to detect any potential abnormalities or anomalies in the developing baby. In this article, we'll explore everything you need to know about fetal anomaly scans.

When to See a Doctor:

A fetal anomaly scan is typically performed between 18 and 22 weeks of pregnancy. Your doctor may recommend this test if there is a known risk of a fetal anomaly if you're carrying multiples, or if you have a history of previous pregnancy complications.

Risk Factors:

While a fetal anomaly scan is generally considered safe, there is a slight risk of complications associated with any ultrasound, such as fetal discomfort or an allergic reaction to the gel used during the test. However, the benefits of the test usually outweigh the risks.

Possible Complications:

While complications from a fetal anomaly scan are rare, if an abnormality is detected, it can be a difficult and emotional experience for parents. It's important to remember that most anomalies can be managed with proper care and treatment.

Preparing for the Test:

To prepare for a fetal anomaly scan, you may be asked to drink water beforehand to ensure that your bladder is full. You may also be advised to wear loose, comfortable clothing and avoid wearing any jewellery or metal objects.

What to Expect During the Test

During the test, you will lie down on a table, and a sonographer will apply a gel to your abdomen. The gel helps transmit sound waves more effectively, which in turn helps produce clearer images. The sonographer will use a transducer, which emits sound waves, over your abdomen. The sound waves will be transmitted through your skin and into your body. The sound waves will bounce back off the organs and tissues in your body, creating echoes that will be captured by the transducer. The echoes will be sent to a computer, which will convert them into images of your foetus.

The sonographer will examine the images carefully and take measurements of the foetus, including the head, abdomen, and legs. They will also examine the foetus’s organs, such as the brain, heart, and kidneys, to ensure they are developing normally.

Possible Results of the Test

The fetal anomaly scan can detect a wide range of abnormalities in the foetus, but it cannot detect every possible anomaly. If the scan identifies any abnormalities, it is important to remember that this does not necessarily mean that your baby will be born with a health problem. It is also important to keep in mind that some abnormalities may not be detected until later in the pregnancy or after birth.

If an abnormality is detected, your healthcare provider will discuss the results with you and your partner and guide the next steps. Depending on the severity of the abnormality, you may be referred to a specialist for further evaluation or treatment.


The fetal anomaly scan is a critical component of prenatal care that provides valuable information about the development of the fetus. It is a safe and non-invasive procedure that can detect a wide range of abnormalities, allowing parents to prepare for any potential health issues that their baby may face after birth. If you are pregnant, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about the fetal anomaly scan and any other tests that may be necessary to ensure the health of your baby.

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

1. When is the fetal anomaly scan performed?

A fetal anomaly scan is typically performed between weeks 18 and 21 of pregnancy.

2. How long does the fetal anomaly scan take?

The scan usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes.

3. Is the fetal anomaly scan safe for the foetus?

Yes, the fetal anomaly scan is a non-invasive, risk-free procedure for the fetus.

4. Can the fetal anomaly scan detect all possible anomalies?

No, while the fetal anomaly scan can detect a wide variety of anomalies, it cannot detect every possible anomaly.

5. What happens if a fetal anomaly is discovered during the scan?

If there is something wrong, your doctor will talk to you about the results and tell you what to do next. This may include sending you to a specialist for more testing or treatment.

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