What is the Anomaly Scan Used For?

The anomaly scan is a routine ultrasound offered to all women at around 20 weeks. It is an important part of your antenatal care because it can reveal many potential problems with your baby’s health and development. The scan can detect issues that may need to be treated before or after birth. It can also give you the information you need to make the right decisions about your pregnancy.

  Health Checks at 20 Weeks

By the time the anomaly scan is performed at 18 to 21 weeks, your baby will have developed all of the major organs. The scan can therefore be used to check for any abnormalities in the structure or function of these organs. The sonographer will check your baby’s heart, brain, spine, kidneys, and digestive system. The baby’s limbs, face and other structures will be checked too. Although it isn’t possible to detect all kinds of abnormalities with an ultrasound, the scan can help to identify many potential physical abnormalities.

There are eleven specific conditions that the sonographer will check for:
  • Cleft lip
  • Open spina bifida
  • Anencephaly
  • Cardiac abnormalities
  • Gastrochisis
  • Exomphalos
  • Lethal skeletal dysplasia
  • Bilateral renal agenesis
  • Diaphragmatic hernia
  • Edwards’ syndrome
  • Patau’s syndrome

Other Information the Scan Will Reveal

Although checking for these kinds of physical abnormalities is the main purpose of the 20 week ultrasound, the anomaly scan can also reveal more information about you and your baby. The sonographer will measure your baby and check for any other health problems that could be affecting the baby, the placenta or you. The anomaly scan is also a chance for you to find out your baby’s sex if you haven’t already done so. You should let the sonographer know if you want to find out if you’re expecting a boy or a girl.

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