The anomaly scan is a detailed ultrasound scan offered by the NHS, used for determining physical abnormalities of the fetus from 19 weeks to 22 weeks . The optimum time for an anomaly scan begins at the 20th week of pregnancy. With the help of the anomaly scan, the sonographer takes a close look at your baby and your uterus to check that everything is developing normally. Usually a scan lasts around 30 minutes, during which major physical abnormalities are checked by looking at certain areas in detail. The sonographer will look at the baby from different  angles and assess your baby’s heartbeat, the position of the placenta and the amount of amniotic fluid around your baby. Measurements to check the baby’s growth and development will be carefully taken in detail, and the baby’s organs will be examined in as much detail as the visibility on the scan allows.

Many NHS hospitals will offer to tell you the sex of your baby at the 20 week anomaly scan. If the baby is not in a favourable position during your routine hospital pregnancy scan, the gender of your baby may not be identifiable during your this scan anomaly scan, and you would not routinely be offered another opportunity within your NHS care.

We offer the sexing scan from 16 weeks, which is earlier than the 20 week anomaly scan. We can also reveal or confirm your baby’s gender if your NHS scan did not determine if you are having a boy or a girl, with longer appointments as routine.

A gender scan can be performed in our clinic from 16 weeks of pregnancy. This ultrasound scan is for parents to be who would like to know the sex of their baby earlier than the 20 week anomaly scan offered by the NHS, or if the NHS Sonographer was unable to confirm the sex of your baby during your 20 week anomaly scan. If we have any doubt about the sex of your baby, we will invite you for a repeat sexing scan at no extra cost.

A Sexing or Gender scan can be performed from 16 weeks of pregnancy onwards, and we also offer the option of a Detailed Second Trimester scan to assess the early fetal anatomy at this stage. You will be able to see your baby’s heartbeat and movements before you can feel them.

The baby’s head, brain, face, heart, stomach, kidneys, bladder, hands, feet, spine, and abdominal wall can all be assessed at this scan, within the limits of your pregnancy gestation. How many weeks pregnant you are determines how much of baby’s anatomy the sonographer can check at this stage. Due to the limitations of ultrasound, earlier sexing scans and anatomy checks can be less successful for pregnant ladies with a higher BMI, therefore it may be best to wait a couple more weeks until the baby is more developed.

Other pregnancy- related structures such as amniotic fluid and the position of the placenta will also be assessed.

When you opt for the detailed second trimester scan, we will assume that you wish to know about any problems or concerns that are detected by the scan. If any abnormalities are detected, the significance of the findings will be discussed and referral for further scans on the NHS will be arranged. 

The vast majority of babies are healthy, occasionally some do have problems. Over half of all serious congenital malformations such as anencephaly and spina bifida can be detected earlier. However, some problems may not be present even at 20 weeks, but develop later (e.g. diaphragmatic hernia and some cardiac defects).

Even though the the measurements of the fetal growth are accurate at this stage, not all abnormalities can be identified before19 weeks, especially the heart as it is too small to assess in detail at this earlier stage. The scan will however, provide reassurance before movements can be felt, and greatly reduces the risk of having a miscarriage or severe birth defects due to lack of knowledge about certain abnormalities early on during pregnancy. 

This scan should not replace the 20 week anomaly scan offered by the NHS.

Victoria Davis

Advanced Practitioner Sonographer

What our clients say about us

“We were both delighted with the service, in the run up to the scan, with our questions being answered reassuringly and on the actual day. You were friendly and helpful Continue Reading