What is the Anomaly Scan?
By 20-22 weeks of pregnancy you are roughly halfway through your journey. This is an ideal time to re-examine the anatomical development of your baby using the Anomaly Scan. More specifically, we recommend the City Ultrasound Anomaly Scan to be performed at 22 weeks, when the major structures of the baby’s brain are completely developed.
The Anomaly Scan involves a thorough examination of the fetal anatomy including a top-to-toe examination of the baby and its environment in the womb. We have the most comprehensive list of organs and structures that we examine, paying special attention to the fetal brain and heart.
Simultaneously, we will screen for a rare complication of pregnancy called, vasa previa, which is when some of the fetal blood vessels run close to the internal opening of the cervix, leaving them more vulnerable to rupture when the membranes break (before labour).
The NHS also provides an Anomaly Scan for every pregnant woman. Why should we get this scan at City Ultrasound?
The NHS provide free screening, performed by specially trained sonographers, for fetal anomalies in mid-pregnancy (The Anomaly Scan).
Please visit the NHS page for more information.
10 major reasons to do the Anomaly Scan at City Ultrasound
- We perform meticulous top-to-toe examinations of the fetus and check more structures than any other institution,
- We perform a special heart scan (fetal echocardiography) for every baby we scan,
- Our Anomaly Scan is scheduled at a slightly later gestational age (preferable 21-22 weeks) because some important structures of the brain are not completely developed at 19 weeks, which is when the majority of the NHS scans are performed,
- We check the corpus callosum, an important midline structure of the brain, which is challenging to examine,
- We have immense experience in screening for fetal anomalies,
- We currently have the most advanced ultrasound scanners,
- We use high resolution probes,
- We screen for vasa previa, which is a rare, but potentially dangerous condition that can lead to fetal bleeding and distress in labour,
- We provide you with your baby’s images and videos, which can be downloaded by you from our secure cloud server,
- We perform 3D/4D scans free of charge (quality of image depends on general resolution of the scan and can sometimes be low).
How is the Anomaly Scan performed?
Most of the time, an Anomaly Scan is performed transabdominally; however, in rare cases, when the baby is in an awkward position and does not wish to move, we may need to perform a transvaginal scan (TVS, internal scan) to check the lowest part of the baby. Similarly, if the placenta is low or praevia (covering the birth canal), we may also need to do a TVS.
You do NOT need to have a full urinary bladder for the scan. We want you to feel comfortable!
Can we exclude all anomalies using this scan?
Unfortunately, there is no test that can diagnose or exclude all fetal anomalies or diseases.
The Anomaly Scan can detect the majority of fetal anomalies, while some (up to 25% of all anomalies according to new research) are not visible or not developed at 20-23 weeks. As a result, those would go undiagnosed. Fortunately, the majority of those anomalies are mild and treatable after birth, although some of them, such as brain anomalies and tumors can be very serious.
Therefore, because the Anomaly Scan cannot exclude all anomalies with late manifestation and there is no routine scan after 20 weeks on the NHS, we strongly recommend having a follow-up Development Scan at 28-34 weeks (more specifically, we recommended having the scan at 32 weeks).
Should I still get my NHS Anomaly Scan even after having done one at City Ultrasound?
Yes, we strongly recommend having your Anomaly Scan by your local NHS provider. It is important for the continuity of prenatal care, as well as for planning your follow-up and delivery.
The Baby Scan Package: The best screening program for every pregnancy
The Anomaly Scan is a crucial examination of the baby and covers an extensive checklist of examination points. This is an important element of our Ultrasound Cover, which consists of the best ultrasound scans, performed at the optimal time period for every scan. The scans can also be combined with NIPT (Non-invasive Prenatal Testing), which has a very high detection rate for trisomy 21 (Down’s Syndrome)
The Baby Scan Package includes four essential scans and can be combined with NIPT.
We strongly believe that the timing listed below represent the optimal scan schedule, allowing the maximum possible reassurance for every future mother:
- Early Fetal Scan at 12 weeks
- Anomaly Scan at 22 weeks
- Developmental scan at 32 weeks
- Pre-delivery scan at 36 weeks