The Anomaly Pregnancy Scan and the Most Common Abnormalities It Detects

The anomaly scan is a detailed ultrasound scan, used for determining physical abnormalities of the foetus early on. The best month for an anomaly scan starts with the 20th week of pregnancy. Most women take the scan between this time and the 24th week. What is the anomaly scan used for and why is it recommended to have it? Find out below.

What is the use of an anomaly scan?

With the help of the anomaly scan, the doctor can take a close look at your baby and your uterus to check that everything is developing normally. Usually a scan lasts around 30 minutes, during which major physical abnormalities are checked by looking at certain factors. Your doctor will look at the ultrasound from various areas and angles and assess your baby’s heartbeat, the position of the placenta and the amount of amniotic fluid around your baby. Measurements to check the baby’s growth and development will be carefully taken in detail, and the baby’s organs will be examined as detailed as the visibility on the scan allows.

Common abnormalities that are checked for during the anomaly scan

Your doctor will also look for signs of some particular disorders when looking at the anomaly scan. Some of these conditions are:

  • Heart conditions, for which your baby’s heart is examined during the scan
  • Spine abnormalities: the doctor will check if the spine and skull are developing normally
  • Certain genetic disorders
  • Chromosomal abnormalities: the doctor will check if the number of chromosomes is normal and for related conditions such as the Down syndrome.

Remember, it’s not always possible to check everything in full details, as there are a lot of factors that can impede having a clear view in certain areas. If, due to these factors, the doctor decides that measurements will not be accurate, either a new appointment will be scheduled or an internal transvaginal probe will be used.

Why is it recommended to have the anomaly scan?

Even though the scan is accurate on the measurements that can be taken, not all abnormalities can be identified during this scan. The scan does, however, greatly reduce the risk of having a miscarriage or severe birth defects due to lack of knowledge about certain abnormalities early on during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor and keep yourself informed about the uses and limitations of the anomaly scan to fully understand how you and your baby will benefit from this scan appointment.