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    What Is Anomaly Scan- A Complete Guide

    Scans & Tests

    What Is Anomaly Scan- A Complete Guide

    Updated on 4 April 2023

    Yay! Congratulations on finishing off successfully 50% of your pregnancy journey! Now that you're here, don't you feel a lot better? Pretty sure that your morning sickness must have reduced, and you're still not that out of shape to face extreme back pain or kilos of extra weight! The most awaited phase of your pregnancy is now here, where you will most likely be able to see the face and also know the gender of your tiny human! An anomaly scan report can give you a clear indication of the gender of your child and how well your little one is growing inside your womb. With this scan, you can witness one of the most nail-biting experiences of your life!

    What Is An Anomaly Scan?

    An anomaly scan can also be referred to as a level 2 Ultrasound. This scan happens almost towards the mid of your pregnancy. This scan will give you an insight into your womb and the one inside the womb. The sonographer will use this scan to determine whether the baby is developing appropriately and to evaluate the position of the placenta, umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid surrounding the baby.

    Additionally, this scan is referred to as a morphology scan or a 20-week scan. It's critical to remember that this scan aims primarily to check on the health of your baby, not to discover the gender. You can expect to see a black and white 2D(2 Dimensional) side-view picture of your baby inside your womb. Wouldn't it be the most exciting moment when you get to witness your baby's face and hands at 20 weeks in that 2D black and white image? Your anomaly scan report details will give your sonographer a clear idea of what's happening inside your womb and how your baby is doing there!

    Why Should You Get An Anomaly Scan Report?

    As discussed above, an anomaly scan normal report will show all about your baby's growth and development inside the womb, including the normalcy of your baby's structure. Anomaly scans are also done to find out if anything abnormal happens that needs immediate attention or any further tests. All of the baby's internal organs are examined in detail, including the brain and spinal cord. That is to say; you must have this scan performed in order to keep track of your child's growth and development by evaluating the growth of your baby’s organs. Needless to say, this scan is also an excellent opportunity for parents to take home some stunning images of their fetus!

    Although it cannot detect every problem, it can provide a general idea of the baby's bones, heart, brain, spinal cord, face, kidneys, and abdomen to a healthcare specialist (a sonographer). This scan also helps the sonographer identify some really rare conditions as well. Here are those rare conditions:

    • Edward's Syndrome or T18

    • Cleft Lip

    • Open Spina Bifida

    • Exomphalos

    • Diaphragmatic Hernia

    • Gastroschisis

    • Anencephaly

    • Serious cardiac abnormalities

    • Patau's Syndrome of T13

    • Lethal Skeletal Dysplasia

    • Bilateral Renal Agenesis

    When Should You Get Your Anomaly Scan Report?

    You can expect your doctor to ask you to get an anomaly scan anywhere between 18-20 weeks of pregnancy, your second trimester. This scan gives you much-needed information about your baby's growth inside the womb and whether all your baby's organs are developing properly or not.

    How To Prepare For An Anomaly Scan?

    An anomaly scan is quite a standard procedure that every woman goes through during pregnancy. You don't really have to overdo anything. Here are a few tips that will help you get done with the scan quicker enough:

    • Remember that there's nothing to worry about and hence, be calm. Ensure that you reach your hospital on time and relax.

    • Now, the internet is filled with mixed suggestions about this one, but on a personal experience level- you need to have your bladder full to go through with the scan. If your bladder isn't full, your doctor will wait for you to drink enough water so that your bladder is full and you're ready for the scan. However, there is nothing to worry about here. When you have an empty bladder, you can drink enough water when you reach the hospital, and your bladder will be complete!

    • Wear loose-fitting clothes so that your sonographer can easily access the area from your belly button to your pubic bone.

    • Needless to say, you must carry your medical file at all appointments.

    Procedure Of An Anomaly Scan

    Sound waves are used to create images of the body's internal structures during an anomaly scan. It is standard procedure for the sonographer to utilize a transducer and water-based gel on a patient's abdomen. Using these waves, the computer will construct a picture of your child for you to see.

    Sonographers use minimal pressure to capture images during the scan, which is entirely painless. After the scan is complete, you will be able to view the results, which should take no more than 30 minutes. By using the sonographer, you will be able to see the child's heart and other organs and other sections of their body. However, the baby's gender is never revealed because of strict rules on prenatal testing techniques in India. The hospitals in India are barred from doing so.

    What Can An Anomaly Scan Report Detect?

    Since you're almost halfway through your pregnancy, an anomaly scan will depict pretty much how your child is developing inside your womb and if there are any abnormalities to worry about. Usually, the following are the abnormalities your sonographer will check for in your anomaly scan report:

    • An anomaly scan has a 75% chance of detecting a cleft lip. A cleft lip means that either your baby's lips or some parts of your baby's face fail to join correctly.

    • While doing the anomaly scan, the sonographer will also check for your baby's heart's proper functioning and development. A complete examination of the arteries and veins of your baby's heart is also done.

    • An anomaly scan will also check for the proper development of your baby's limbs.

    • An anomaly scan has a 90% chance of detecting whether your baby's spinal cord has adequately developed or not. It'll also show if the spine has any split or any kind of gap.

    • An anomaly scan can also check for anencephaly. Anencephaly is a condition where there is abnormal development of the brain and the skull's bones. However, unfortunately, babies diagnosed with this problem cannot live after birth and succumb as soon as they are born.

    • Through an anomaly scan, you can also get to know if your baby has two kidneys or not and whether the bladder is filling up or not.

    • Your sonographer will also check if there is enough amniotic fluid around your child to remain protected.

    • If your baby has Edward's Syndrome, an anomaly scan will detect it for you. Edward's Syndrome is when your child has chromosome 18's three copies instead of having two.

    • During the scan, the placenta is examined. Your gynecologist will recommend another ultrasound during the third trimester to determine if the placenta has drifted away from the cervix. Your doctor will only recommend this ultrasound if your placenta is at a lower level in your uterus. This is known as placenta praevia in medical terms. There is no need to worry if your placenta is lying low in the third trimester if you are between the ages of 18 and 20 weeks pregnant.

    • There will be a visual inspection of the abdominal wall to ensure that it completely encloses all frontal organs. Besides looking at the baby's lungs, the sonographer will also examine the baby's stomach to see if there are any abnormalities.

    • During the scan, the sonographer will take measurements of your baby's bodily components and compare them to typical growth patterns during pregnancy. Anomaly scan measurements often include the following:

    • Abdomen's circumference.

    • Head's circumference.

    • Thighbone measurements.

    What Can You See In The Anomaly Scan Reports?

    As soon as an image of your baby flashes on the screen, your sonographer will point out your baby's face, hands, and other organs. You may not be able to make out the organs clearly, but nonetheless, you will still be filled with happiness and excitement.

    As a result, you will see a black-and-white image of your baby. 3D and 4D scans allow you to see a more accurate image of your kid from various angles, whereas a 2D scan only shows one side of your baby. As previously said, the scan will give you an overall picture of your child's physical condition, including his growth, development, and the existence of anomalies (if any). The scan can confirm if you're expecting more than one child.

    Is An Anomaly Scan Risky?

    During the course of your pregnancy, there are only two scans that your doctor will suggest you get. One would be around the 12th week and one around the 20th week. Although there is no concrete evidence that shows that 3D scans or routine pregnancy scans are harmful to your child, you should get scans only when vital on your doctor's advice.

    How Accurate Is An Anomaly Scan?

    An ultrasound scan during the second trimester of pregnancy is highly significant since it can aid in determining the fetus's growth and help discover any anomalies that may be occurring in the fetus. Anomaly scans do produce images, but this does not imply that the scans are always accurate or produce the correct conclusions.

    Anomalies in the baby's essential organs are complicated to detect, and an anomaly scan may or may not provide the same results. In order to get a clear picture of the baby, a sonographer may have to scan the abdomen many times. If the scan results aren't 100% correct, the parents are usually requested to sign a consent document stating that they realize this.

    What If The Anomaly Scan Report Details Have A Problem?

    When reviewing an anomaly scan report, keep in mind that it's not always 100% reliable, and the findings may not always be correct. Also, keep in mind that finding a severe issue at this point is quite unlikely. Any problems that are found will be discussed with you to know what to do about them. The following advice can help you deal in case of any such problems or issues:

    • There could be a possibility that your sonographer may not have been able to observe everything because of your baby's position. Maybe, your baby was in such a position that the ultrasound could not really detect any waves from the photos. Also, if you are overweight, the sonography may not be as accurate as it should be. In these cases, your doctor may ask you to get the same scan done somewhere around the 23rd week of your pregnancy.

    • Within 72 hours of the scan result, you should see a fetal medicine specialist if the sonographer discovers or suspects that there is an issue.

    • If the observations by the sonographer show that your baby could have a problem in the heart, you may be asked to have a fetal echo scan done. Afterward, your doctor will provide you with a proper remedy. If the situation is difficult and needs immediate attention, the surgery can even occur while your baby is inside your womb. But if the situation can wait until the baby is out, the surgery is performed after your baby pops out of your womb!


    There is no parent in the world who wouldn't want to see their little one developing inside the womb. Can't blame them, this experience is the most unique of all. Most hospitals even give you pictures and videos of this scan to store as memories as this is one memory and one moment that won't come again in your life. Your partner can accompany you in this scan and be a part of this iconic moment. If you're still thinking about whether or not an anomaly scan report is needed, you must know that it is definitely needed and you must do as your doctor says.


    • NHS. (2021). 20-week screening scan.
    • Public Health England. NHS Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme (FASP): programme overview.

    Also read about: Fetal Doppler Scan During Pregnancy: In which week should you get it done?, Risks of Getting a Fetal Doppler Scan During Your Pregnancy, Blood beta Hcg test: What is it, levels & How to read it?and What to expect in a Nuchal Translucency scan during your Pregnancy?

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