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Do I Really Need An Anomaly Scan?

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If you are 20 weeks pregnant and your obstetrician has asked to go for an anomaly scan, then you would get many questions in your mind. Your doctor may not have the time to answer them all. So here are some of the common questions and the appropriate answers to them.

How is it different from an ultrasound scan?

You have probably had a normal pregnancy scan to confirm your pregnancy already. So, you might be curious about this new scan when you are 20 weeks pregnant. Anomaly scan is basically a scan that allows the sonographer to take a closer look at the baby's organs and structure. This is done both two dimensionally and in cross section.

Anomaly Scan

Why do I need an Anomaly scan?

It is not a compulsion but a choice that you should take. Some specific abnormalities in the foetal development can be detected only by this scan. Foetal defects that are serious may lead to the birth of a special child. So, serious foetal defects may mean that your baby will need a surgery or two after birth. This scan helps you become mentally prepared for such probabilities. The technology is here so why not use it?

What deformities does the anomaly scan detect?

Some of the main abnormalities (if any) detected by this pregnancy scan are;

  • Brain deformities: During this scan, the brain is closely examined to see if any of the lobes are absent.
  • Spinal cord: The sonographer takes a cross section view of the baby's spinal cord and also looks at it length-wise to ensure it is normal. Both the nervous system and the alignment of bones is checked by this process.
  • Cleft lip: This facial defect is also known as 'hare lip' and is detected through this test. It causes some speech problems for the child but can be fixed with a minor surgery after the baby is born.
  • Limb Defects: The anomaly scan will check all the limbs, fingers and joints of the baby to see if they are any missing or defective parts. Disorders like webbed feet and extra fingers can be easily detected by this scan.
  • Kidneys: The scan checks that the baby has 2 kidneys and they are regularly filling up with urine. By the time you are 20 weeks pregnant, your baby takes a leak inside you every half an hour!
  • Abdomen: The scans sees to it that all the organs in the foetus's abdominal cavity are of the normal size and covered with epidermal layers.
  • Low lying placenta: Additionally, this scan also checks the position of the placenta and helps diagnose the critical cases of low lying placenta.

What in the scan is not 'clear'?

If there is any anomaly detected then you will be informed immediately. In cases of critical deformities like Down's syndrome or other genetic disorders, you might want to re-consider your decision; whether to continue with the pregnancy or not.

These are some of the benefits of doing anomaly scan. Get it done even though if it is not deemed mandatory by your doctor.

Read more about: pregnancy care, prenatal
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