Anatomy Survey Scans

Anatomy Survey Scans – 18 – 22 weeks


(to include photographs and computerised report)

Below is a general overview, and below this you can find the transcript of this video.

Anatomy Survey Scans Overview

This scan consists of a full anatomical survey .  The placenta will be localised and measurements of your baby will be performed to ensure that it is growing normally.

The majority of babies are healthy at birth, but unfortunately about 2-3% of babies are born with a birth defect.  About half of these major defects will be seen on scan and half will not be detected during pregnancy.  This means that even if your scan is apparently normal there is a small chance that your baby may still have a problem because ultrasound has its limitations.

The following table lists different types of birth defects and how likely scanning is to identify each problem during pregnancy:

Condition What the problem is Chance of being seen on the scan
Spina Bifida Open Spinal Cord 90%
Anecephaly Absence of the top of the head 99%
Hydrocephalus Excess fluid within the brain * 60%
Major Heart Problems 20%
Diaphragmatic Hernia A defect in the muscle which seperates the chest and the abdomen 60%
Exomphalos/Gastoschisis Defects of the abdominal wall 90%
Major Kidney Problems Missing or abnormal kidneys 85%
Major Limb Abnormalities Missing bones or very short limbs 15%
Cerebral Palsy Spasticity Not Seen
Autism Not Seen
Down’s Syndrome May be associated with heart and bowel problems About 40%

*many cases present for the first time late in pregnancy or even after birth. The above information is based on audit figures of own practice at the National Maternity Hospital.

Anatomy Survey Scan-What To Expect At Merrion Fetal Health

An anatomy scan is often referred to as “the twenty week scan” or “the routine scan”.  It is normally performed between 18 – 22 weeks gestation as this is the best opportunity during pregnancy to examine all the anatomy of your baby in great detail.  It is not necessary for you to have a full bladder for this scan.  The anatomy scan is a transabdominal scan and is non invasive procedure.

When you arrive at Merrion Fetal Health you will be greeted by a member of our Administration team.  It is likely that you may have previously attended Merrion Fetal Health for an early dating pregnancy scan but if this is your first time with us you will be given a registration form to complete.  You will then be directed to our waiting room where you will await your sonographer.

Your sonographer will meet you in the waiting area and take you to the ultrasound room.  They will confirm your details before the ultrasound procedure begins.

The sonographer will spend the majority of the time looking at various anatomical details of the baby that are not obvious to you but the sonographer will explain what you are looking at as they scan your baby.  It is our aim to make your visit with us as relaxing and as stress free as possible so if you have any queries please do not hesitate to ask your sonographer.

The sonographer will check all your baby’s organs and take measurements and images.  She will check your baby’s face, baby’s spine, baby’s abdominal wall, baby’s heart, kidneys and stomach.  Your baby’s arms legs, hands and feet will also be checked.   Measurements of the baby’s head circumference, abdominal circumference and femur will be taken.

As well as checking the how your baby is growing the sonographer will check the placenta, the umbilical cord and the amniotic fluid.

It is sometimes possible to tell the sex of the baby at this scan, but not always.  If you wish to know the gender of your baby please inform your sonographer at beginning of your ultrasound.  However, determining the sex of the baby is not always easy and it can depend on position of the baby in the uterus.  Baby needs to be in a favourable position to visualise the genital area and the baby does not always oblige.

If at the time of scan a problem is suspected, you will be told at that stage that there may be a problem.  A full discussion of the problem may require you to come back for further scanning and discussion with one of our fetal medicine specialists.  This can usually be organised within 24 hours if the problem is deemed urgent.  Most problems that need repeat scanning are not serious and approximately 15% of scans will need to be repeated of one reason or another.

At the end of your scan you will be given images of your baby and a detailed report on the findings of your scan.  A copy of this report will be sent to your obstetrician and/or GP as required.

To book an Anatomy Survey Pregnancy Scan please call (01) 663 5060 or use the Make a Booking online form.  This scan is from 18 weeks to 22 weeks.

MFH is conveniently located in Dublin 2 and offers ultrasound for all stages of pregnancy  including early pregnancy scans, nuchal scans, anatomy and growth scans. Merrion Fetal  Health is open to all women not just those attending the National Maternity Hospital.

Anatomy Survey Scans Video Transcript

Video title: Anatomy Survey Scans-Pregnancy Scan Explained

The enhanced scan is known by various different titles. It is also referred to as the detailed scan, the twenty week scan, the routine scan or the anomalies scan. Every pregnant woman should have this scan undertaken between twenty and twenty two weeks’ gestational age.

There are many important reasons as to why you might have this scan. Once again, it allows us to measure the baby and insure that it’s appropriately grown. We’re also able to determine where the placenta is located and how much fluid is around the baby. But most importantly, it allows us to look very carefully at the structure of the baby. We do a very detailed anatomy survey and this allows us to pick up many, but not all, of the fetal abnormalities that a baby might be affected with.

It also, on occasion, allows us to determine the gender of the baby and if you so wish, we will attempt to do that for you.
Many patients are referred to it by their obstetrician or their GP for the routine twenty week scan. This isn’t always necessary. You are able to make this appointment yourself by calling Merrion Fetal Health and we will arrange a twenty week scan for you.

Looking for more pregnancy information, here are some digital magazines we have produced for you: