What is an anomaly scan?
The word ‘anomaly’ derived from the word ‘abnormality’ is a type of ultrasound scan that is performed to detect possible abnormalities in the growing foetus.
Unlike other ultrasound scans, an anomaly scan can only be performed during the second trimester of pregnancy. Whereas, other types of ultrasound scans can be performed at any time all throughout the pregnancy period.
The anomaly scan is different from the other ultrasounds during pregnancy as it shows the whole body of the baby.
Who needs an anomaly scan?
Usually, it depends upon the individual circumstances of the pregnant woman. All pregnant women are offered the anomaly scan, however it is up to the mother-to-be to decide whether to get the scan done or not.
On the other hand, any pregnant women with suspected developmental abnormalities will be recommended an anomaly scan. For example if a pregnant woman has leakage of amniotic fluid during this stage of pregnancy, there are chances that her foetus will develop some limb defects due to having decreased amniotic fluid in her womb. For such a condition in a pregnant woman, the anomaly scan can be great help to visualize any possible limb defects in the foetus at an early stage of pregnancy.
What does the anomaly scan show you?
Anomaly scans usually takes up to 30 minutes to an hour long.
Usually, expecting mothers are really excited to see the results of an anomaly scan since the scan shows the whole body of the baby including legs, arms, spine and also the beating of the heart of the baby etc. The experience is both, exciting and emotional for the expecting mothers to see the results of the anomaly scan.
The baby can be seen moving, kicking and making a fist etc. on the scan result screen. Expecting mothers are usually given scan images and DVDs with scan results for their records, after the scan. It is a great experience for the expecting mother and her family.
However, most expecting parents find it difficult to understand the scan results themselves. Looking at the scan results, it may be difficult for the parents-to-be to figure out the different organs of the foetus. The sonographer will properly explain the scan results to you, pointing out the different foetal organs.
What do Anomaly Scans show you that normal ultrasounds do not?
The anomaly scan shows the detailed bodily scan of the growing baby compared to normal ultrasound scans that are not as details. Some possible medical defects in the foetus, that the normal scans are unable to detect, can be diagnosed with the anomaly scan. Some of these medical defects include:
· Spina bifida,
· Club feet,
· Cleft palate etc.
Anomaly scans are able to detect such possible medical defects in the foetus when normal ultrasounds scans are unable to. Any possible abnormality in the bones and organs of the foetus, when detected at this early stage using the anomaly scan, can be really helpful for the expecting parents. When the expecting parents get to know of such possible medical defects in their baby, it gives them the time to make the right decisions and make proper arrangements for their baby’s treatment.
Does the anomaly scan detect all possible foetal defects?
Usually the anomaly scans rules out a lot of abnormalities because most of the babies are born healthy (in healthy societies). However, some foetal medical conditions may be hard to be seen in the scan. There are some medical conditions such as foetal heart defects, are not easily detected using the anomaly scans. It is therefore that usually, like foetal heart defects, are unable to be diagnosed until late stages of pregnancy.