Knowing What An Anatomy Scan Is All About

Knowing What An Anatomy Scan Is All About

The anatomy scan is an essential level of scans which is also known as a level 2 ultrasound scan. It is performed on a pregnant woman in the time period of 18- 22 weeks. This scan helps to find out the sex of the baby in case you would like to know the same, the measurement and width of your baby’s arms, legs and whole length. This article would give you all the insights about what is an anatomy scan and how is it performed?

The technician would be taking note of the fluid-filled spaces inside the brain and the shape of the mind and cerebellum as well. The technician would also be able to understand the facial structure of your baby. If your fetus has a congenital heart defect, that would also be determined in the anatomy scan.The best part is the spine of your little baby can be evaluated in the long view as well.

When is Anatomy Scanning Usually done?

In today’s world, it is a very common routine for women in their second trimester, which is around 18- 22 weeks to be scheduled for a level 2 ultrasound. This is also regarded as a special pregnancy ultrasound as this will give you complete details of the baby, and help you to see how your baby is developing and also help you to understand whether everything is okay inside your stomach.

Thus anatomy scan is also a great pleasure for mothers who are waiting to see their little one growing well inside them. Most of the level 2-anatomy scan occurs in the second trimester of pregnancy around 20 weeks as a routine. But 18- 22 weeks is also an average schedulable time. If you have a severe condition to keep on the track, then you can have more than one anatomy scan.

How To Prepare For Anatomy Scan?

No special preparation is required for an anatomy scan. You have to drink a lot of water so that your bladder is full. This would help to take better and clear ultrasound images. Many of the ultrasonographers also does not mandate drinking water to the whole especially if you are pregnant. Be prepared to stay on for around 30 minutes for the scan to be complete.

Anatomy Scan Procedure

The anatomy scan procedure is approximately around a 30 minutes procedure. You would have to recline on the examination table with your full tummy exposed. Then a sonographer would apply gel and move the Doppler over your stomach to understand the heartbeat of the fetus. Sound waves would emit from the transducer bounce off internal organs and fluids inside. The computer would convert them into a two-dimensional image.

There would be different images for different weeks of anatomy scan. The anatomy scan at 18 weeks is not too early, and this ultrasound is the longest one that would give you a full insight of your baby’s length, growth, and development. The anatomy scans at 19 weeks are also known as the morphology scan or the mid-trimester ultrasound. The fetal head, lips, face, brain, heart, stomach, abdominal wall along with the internal organs like the kidney, bladder, spine, legs, and hands can also be seen.

The fetal gender can almost always be disclosed at 19 weeks if requested. The anatomy scans at 20 weeks would give you an insight of the baby’s face and hands at 20 weeks. Also, give you an idea of what you would see at the time of the scan. This scan is really exciting for mothers as well as the father.

Anatomy Scans Results

Your anatomy scan results can help you to detect whether your baby is in excellent condition or a bad one. It is however also crucial for the other to understand that the ultrasound or anatomy scans in pregnancy do not detect problems with the childlike autism or cerebral palsy. Sometimes babies have chromosomal abnormalities, and to identify the same, a test called Amniocentesis should perform.

An anatomy scan can detect down syndrome in your baby as well where some babies may have a short neck, a flat face or intellectual disability as well. If you want to know the results of the anatomy scan, your ultrasonographer will tell you the same. Some countries, however, do not disclose the gender of the baby before birth.

What are they looking for at the Anatomy Scan?

Besides the gender of your baby, an anatomy scan will help you to measure the body of your baby, the nasal bone, arms, legs, and waist, look at the brain and the nervous system, and check out the heart and its chambers, as well as the internal organs like the lungs, kidneys, stomach and cleft palate.

Anatomy Scan Risks

There are no noteworthy risks that are associated with the anatomy scan ultrasound. However medical practitioners always suggest that too much X rays are harmful to the fetus. There should not be unnecessary exposure to Anatomy scan in pregnancy. And thus only a few anatomy scans would be necessary to find out the status of your baby. If you feel that you need more information on the results, then you can always consult your practitioner. This is all you need to know about what an anatomy scan is.

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad