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Anomaly Scan or 20 Week Scan

Also sometimes known as a 20 Week Scan, an Anomaly Scan is a chance for your baby’s development and well-being to be assessed in greater detail.

When is the scan performed?
An Anomaly Scan can be performed from 18 weeks but some doctors advise scans between 22-24 weeks. This is because often at that time the images of the baby are clearer. However, it is not advisable to schedule this scan beyond 24 weeks because after that time the baby is more likely to adopt a position that is unfavourable for clear views.

What will I learn from the scan?
With an Anomaly Scan, your baby’s anatomy is examined in detail. Measurements will be made of the head, brain, abdomen and legs. These will be plotted on a chart. Then your baby’s heart, brain, spine, bowel and limbs are checked to detect any abnormalities. This can never completely guarantee that the baby will be normal, but it gives very strong reassurance. The placenta, amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord are also all checked. If you wish, you can find out the sex of your baby from this scan.

In order to examine internal organs properly, the Anomaly Scan is performed in 2D. At this stage it is not possible or beneficial to try to assess your baby’s anatomy in 3/4D. However, this is the time when you are able to get a much clearer picture of your baby in its infant form, making it an emotional and exciting scan for many parents.

How is the scan performed and how long does it take?
The Anomaly Scan is performed transabdominally (through the tummy) and usually takes about thirty minutes. However, because there are so many parts of your baby’s anatomy to be checked, it may be necessary for you to change positions or get up and walk around a little, in order to encourage the baby to move into a more favourable position.

Anomaly Scan or 20 Week Scan Video
(Click image to play)

Do I need to prepare for the scan?
Some clinics will ask you to drink fluid beforehand.

What do I get at the end of the scan (pictures/DVD)?
You will be given a few pictures of your baby to keep. Some clinics also offer you a chance to get a glimpse of your baby in 4D (moving film), but this is in addition to the Anomaly Scan and charged accordingly.

Should I have the scan with a consultant or sonographer?
If you are experiencing a normal pregnancy, then in most cases a scan by a fully qualified, experienced sonographer is suitable. If however, you are experiencing complications with your pregnancy or need a second opinion, a scan with an obstetrics consultant is advised.

How much will it cost?
Prices range from about £220 to £320.

Related Resource: List of high quality private pregnancy scan clinics in the UK