Fetal Anomaly Scan

The fetal anomaly scan is also known as the mid-pregnancy screening scan and is performed between the time of 18 to 26 weeks of pregnancy. It is offered as part of the fetal anomaly ultrasound screening program by NHS. The mid-pregnancy or fetal anomaly scan is used to take a look at the health and development of the baby.

This includes the examination of each part of the fetal position, the position of the placenta, the amount of amniotic fluid, and fetal growth. Read on to understand the details of the scan and why is it imperative for the health and development of the fetus.

What Does the Fetal Anomaly Scan Check?

The fetal anomaly or mid-pregnancy screening scan is used to check a baby's health and development, most importantly including the development of the following parts;

  • brain
  • spinal cord
  • heart
  • bowel
  • kidneys
  • legs and arms

During a fetal anomaly scan, special attention is paid to limbs, kidneys, bowel, stomach, heart, spine, face, and brain. The main purpose of this scan is to determine the presence of rare conditions like that of the heart, spine, and brain.

How is The Anomaly Scan Done?

  1. The anomaly scan starts with the process of the sonographer applying gel over the belly in a dimly lit room to get clear images of the screen. A probe is placed on the gel and moved to get a clear image of the fetus.
  2. A full bladder before the scan helps get the clearest images, giving a clear view of the uterus. This is followed by the evaluation of various organs of the fetus in a sequence.
  3. The fetal anomaly scan also includes different measurements of the fetus's body such as:
  • HC or Head Circumference, which is the length surrounding the head of the baby
  • AC or Abdominal Circumference, which is the length around the abdomen of the baby
  • FL or Femur length is the measurement of the femur or the thigh bone length
  1. These measurements help ascertain the growth and weight of the baby concerning the gestational age. In certain situations, if the baby is moving a lot and not facing the ultrasound probe a revaluation can be required at a gap of some hours.
  2. At the time of the fetal anomaly scan, if the placenta seems to be lying low, the mother is informed that the placenta is at the lower uterus part, towards the cervix.
  3. A repeated scan is needed during the third trimester to determine if the position of the placenta has changed. The scan also helps identify features that can indicate a higher risk of Down Syndrome.
  4. In some situations, testing in the form of amniocentesis is also required to confirm the diagnosis. Amniocentesis is the process of removal of a few millimetres of the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby for genetic testing.

Why is an Anomaly Scan Important?

In a majority of cases, if there are any visible defects in the fetus, it can be picked by a simple ultrasound. However, anomalies such as those in the brain or the skull such as an anencephaly or spinal cord (a large-sized meningomyelocele) or the absence of a kidney can be detected with the help of a detailed mid-pregnancy scan or anomaly scan. Other anomalies such as potential heart defects, cleft palate or tracheoesophageal fistula can be detected with the help of an anomaly scan and require early surgical intervention. The anomaly scan gives a detailed view of the mother's womb and tells about the development and growth of the baby with utmost accuracy.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, DELHI-NCR - Chirag Enclave. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. Do anomaly scans reveal gender?

The gender of the baby can be revealed at the time of the scan. However, prenatal sex determination is prohibited by law in India.

2. How is a fetal anomaly scan performed?

The anomaly scan is performed trans-abdominally (over the stomach area).

3. What is the best time for an anomaly scan?

The anomaly scan can be conducted at any time between 18 to 20 weeks.

4. Is the fetal anomaly scan painful for the mother?

Like any other ultrasound scan, the fetal anomaly scan is not painful.

5. What is the significance of an anomaly scan?

The fetal anomaly scan is a detailed scan that helps examine every part of the fetal body and also check for anomalies.

6. What type of rare fetal conditions does an anomaly scan detect?

The fetal anomaly scan detects rare fetal conditions of the brain, heart and spine.

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