All you should be knowing about an anomaly scan

The anomaly scan usually checks for the baby's bones, heart, brain, spinal cord, face, kidneys and abdomen.

The two lines after you pee on the stick means an adventurous yet memorable journey of excitement, tummy kicks, special clothes, sleepless night, morning sickness, swollen feet and a lot more!

But every trimester brings in a lot of questions on a new mother's mind. One of the most important scans also brings in a lot of curiosity, called the Anomaly scan. We interviewed Dr Tejas Kapadia, a consultant Radiologist to educate us more on the scan.

What is an Anomaly scan?

Anomaly literally means something that deviates from the normal or usual. So this is translated into a scan to check any abnormalities in the fetus. This is usually performed by the sonologist to rule out any structural abnormalities.

When is the Anomaly scan performed?

Though it is essential to do an anomaly scan for every pregnancy, few doctors do not emphasize on it. This scan can be performed by choice. This scan is extremely important and can be carried out only between 18-24 weeks.

Ideally doctors suggest the scan to be performed during the 18th to the 20th week as the legally a fetus cannot be aborted post 20th week.

What happens at the scan?

Though this scan helps in detecting physical abnormalities, it cannot detect all problems with the fetus and it has its own limitations. The scan usually checks for the baby's bones, heart, brain, spinal cord, face, spine extremities, kidneys and abdomen.

The scan also helps in detecting various conditions like anencephaly, open spina bifida, cleft lip, diaphragmatic hernia, gastrochisis, exomphalos, serious cardiac abnormalities, bilateral renal agenesis, lethal skeletal dysplasia, Edwards' syndrome (T18) and Patau's syndrome (T13).

Cardiac anomalies can be missed at 20 weeks, so when in doubt a repeat scan for fetal echocardiography is done around 24 weeks to look at cardiac structures in details.

What happens if the Anomaly scan is not normal?

If the problem found during the scan is not serious like a cleft lip, the doctor may just inform you about it without asking you to take any action during pregnancy.

Such symptoms can be rectified after birth with a surgery. But if the defects found are life-threatening or untreatable, the doctor may leave it to you and your family whether you want to continue with the pregnancy.

Where can one go for an Anomaly scan?

Usually, your obstetrician/gynecologist will be able to guide you where you could get this scan done from. Most of the private hospitals, diagnostic centers and government hospitals do offer Anomaly scan, but it is best to confirm once before booking an appointment or walking in.

What is the cost of an Anomaly scan?

The usual cost of an Anomaly scan in a private clinic/hospital can range between Rs2500 - Rs 3500. A government set up can charge around 100-500 Indian rupees.

5 common questions related to Anomaly scan:

1)Does one need to have an empty stomach for this scan?

No, it is not needed.

2) Does one need to have their bladder full of this scan?

Few sonologists prefer a full bladder but most of them have no restrictions or requirements.

3) When can one get the results?

Usually, the sonologist who performs the scan can inform immediately the visible issues if any. But the reports are usually given within a day or two.

4) Can the scan cause any harm to the child or mother?

There are no such proofs or pieces of evidence of the scan causing any harm to the child or mother.

5) Can the scan detect Down syndrome?

Dr Tejas Kapadia (Consultant Radiologist) adds, "Anomaly scan may help in detecting Down's syndrome, but there are chances of it being unclear depending on fetal positioning. Nowadays the trend is to do triple marker test by 12-18 weeks which will suggest the possibility of chromosomal disorder like downs syndrome."

Also Read: 5 routine pregnancy scans you must know about