Fetal Anomaly Scan


A fetal anomaly scan is the first trimester anomaly scan allowing the mothers to identify the development phase of an unborn child and the placentae position inside the uterus. The best time for fetal anomaly scan is during the mid-pregnancy which takes place in between 18 to 23 weeks of pregnancy. This pregnancy scan is important as it helps to examine the possibilities of disabilities in a fetus.

Fetal anomaly scan meaning holds the development of fetus observed in terms of morphology, volume evaluation, fetal lung maturity and general well-being. It is also called level ii ultrasound, or 20-week ultrasound or anatomy scan during the gestational age.

The first trimester anomaly scan radiology is suggested for 11-13 weeks pregnancy. The antenatal scan is suggested for routine investigation and for fetal well-being. The fetal anomaly scan center emphasizes on the factors such as crown rump length, nuchal translucency, and fetal heart rate.

While the level ii ultrasound fetal anomaly screen is recommended only when the couple is interested to know the sex of their baby. Anomaly scan and fetal echo uses the same wave of ultrasound to give a clear heart function of an unborn child, these types of scan are performed on the second trimester. Likewise, echo sounds waves are used to examine the fetus heart while the ultrasound machine analyze and create a clear image of their heart.

Purpose of Fetal Anomaly Scan

Anomaly scan baby weight and check for physical abnormalities. During fetal anomaly scan, the sonographer shall measure the other body parts of the baby including the head circumference (HC), thigh bone length (FL) and abdominal circumference (AC). Through the level ii ultrasound fetal anomaly screen one look particularly for:

  • The structure and shape of baby’s head.
  • Cleft lip on the baby’s face.
  • Spine length and its cross section.
  • Baby’s abdominal wall.
  • Baby’s lungs and heart. The top atria and ventricles must be of equal size and the valves should close and open with each heartbeat.
  • Stomach and bowels as there are cases where baby’s swallow some of the amniotic fluid.
  • Examine the kidneys and proper flow of urine.
  • Check the arms, hands, legs and feet. 

If any condition is identified in fetal anomaly test, the sonographer for may take second opinion. The case shall be referred to the fetal anomaly screening department.  The findings then shall be discussed with the concerned doctors of Vatsalaya, IVF clinic.

The doctor may suggest for repeated foetal anomaly scan for more realistic suggestions.

  • The baby’s position may make it difficult to see everything clearly.
  • The anomaly scan of fetus gets complicated due to increased maternal BMI.

If the fetal full profile scan is not completed due to above reason then, only repeated session suggestion is given by the consultant.

Fetal anomalies detected by ultrasound

Early anomaly scan during the early stage of pregnancy allows the parents to detect the following issues:



Chances of figuring out

Edwards' Syndrome (Trisomy 18)

The rare genetic chromosol disorder which occurs when the baby has three copies of chromosome 18 instead of two.


Lethal Skeletal Dysplasia

It affects the respiratory portion, arms, legs or skulls. In this situation the lungs and chest are not fully developed which means there are less chances of survival.


Patau's Syndrome (Trisomy 13)

The chromosol disorder occurs when the baby has three copies of 13 chromosomes instead of two.



When the abdomen fails to close the base of umbilical cord on early development. There are chances of organs developing outside the abdomen.


Bilateral Renal Agenesis

This is a situation where baby’s kidney is not well developed. Sadly, babies after birth only live for short duration.


Cardiac abnormalities

Fetal cardiac anomaly scan examines the heart range has abnormalities which means immediate medical attention is needed.


Cleft lip

This happens when the baby’s lips don’t join properly.


Open Spina Bifida

Improper development of spinal cord. Where there is split or gap in the spine.


Diaphragmatic Hernia

It occurs when the baby fails to develop a full diaphragm. Absence of this would prevent smooth respiration as it keeps the lungs and bowl separate.



In this case baby usually have hole in one side of umbilical cord. There are chances of bowel to escape from this hole.



This invites abnormal development of brain and bones in the skull. Babies with this issue don’t survive.



Procedure for Fetal Anomaly Scan

The fetal anomaly analyis is carried out in a dimly lit room so that the sonographer can take a proper image of the growing baby. The sonographer before proceeding will ask the patients to lie down and tuck tissue in their tummy to protect the spread of gel. The gel makes sure that there is a good contact between the skin and probe.

Then the staff shall pass a handheld probe over the bare tummy for examination. A black and white image of the baby shall appear in the ultra-sound screen.

There is no risk associated with the fetal anomaly scan. But the sonographer may need to apply a slight pressure to get the clear view, which might be uncomfortable. The total duration of the fetal anomaly scan takes nearly 20 to 30 minutes.

For proper scan, the patients are asked to drink sufficient water, for full bladder. The fetal anomaly ultrasound is performed by the trained sonographers of Vatsalya.

Risk associated with Fetal Anomaly Scan

Numerous scientific researches have assured that fetal anomaly scan is of no harm to pregnant mothers, human fetus or embryo. It is safe when performed prudently for a much clearer medical purpose by a trained professional.  

Successful fetal anomaly scan is an in-depth medical examination of the unborn child. Therefore, Vatsalya offers best obstetric foetal anomaly scan in Nepal. The service offered by the infertility center is high end, therefore, patients facing any issues related to pregnancy can take consultation and fertility service. To know more contact us!

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