Second Trimester Anomaly Scans For Your Growing Baby

5 min read

Reviewed by Dr Prerna Jhawar MBBS, MS(Obstetrics and Gynaecology),
FFM Consultant, Fetal Medicine,
Rainbow Children's Hospitals, Bengaluru

Dr Prerna Jhawar

Dr Prerna Jhawar is a Fetal medicine expert with 12+ years of experience. As a Fetal medicine expert, Dr Prerna takes care of babies while they are still in their Mother’s womb! Sharing the More

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Second Trimester Anomaly Scan For Your Growing Baby

So you have sailed through your first trimester and have entered the next one – the second trimester. Congratulations! Things will be more relaxing and calm now – your nausea subsides, your emotional upheavals take a backseat, and the best part is you can feel your baby’s first movements. Hence, the week 13 to week 27 of pregnancy is also called the “feel-good period” sometimes. Do you know about second-trimester anomaly scans? 

The anomaly scan, which is also referred to as the anatomy scan, 20-week ultrasound, or level 2 ultrasound, is a diagnostic procedure that assesses the anatomical structures of the fetus, placenta, and maternal pelvic organs. The aforementioned scan holds significant value and is a prevalent constituent of standard prenatal health care.

In This Article

What is a Second Trimester Anomaly Scan in Pregnancy?

The anomaly scan (ultrasound level II) is a routine ultrasound scan that is aimed to see your baby’s body and check some important details -the position of critical elements such as the placenta, the umbilical cord, the level of amniotic fluid around your growing baby, your uterus and cervix. It is also referred to as a ‘morphology scan’.

Halfway through your pregnancy, most of your baby’s organs have already developed while some are still developing.

Hence, it is important to figure out if all is well. Through the anomaly scan, the doctor will check to see if your baby has any abnormalities in growth, including in his heart, stomach, kidneys and limbs. However, while many abnormalities can be detected in this scan, not all of them can be deciphered.

How is the Anomaly Scan Done?

Your ultrasound doctor will place some gel on your belly and move a transducer across it in order to obtain the images of your baby on the screen. The scan takes about thirty minutes.

You can see your baby moving inside you; it is an emotional moment when you feel more attached to the growing life inside your womb.

You can take a DVD of the scan to cherish the memory forever!

[Read : 3D And 4D Ultrasound Scans During Pregnancy]

When Should Second Trimester Anomaly Scan be Done?

When Should Second Trimester Anomaly Scan be Done_

An anomaly scan is performed in the second trimester, usually around 18-20 weeks of pregnancy.

The second-trimester anomaly scan is a detailed scan that is usually carried out when you are between 18 and 21 weeks pregnant. For some, it may be carried out later than 21 weeks as well.

Having the scan does not hurt, but your sonographer may need to apply little pressure to get the best views of the baby. As a result, you may feel a bit uncomfortable.

The duration of this scan is about thirty minutes. Sometimes, the sonographer may struggle to get a good if your baby is lying in an awkward position or is moving a lot. This does not mean there is anything to worry about. This only means that the sonographer may tell you to return after some time for the scan!

What Happens at 20-Week  Anomaly Scan?

The 20-week scan reveals the individual structures of your baby, such as his heart and brain. Your sonographer will take a close look at your baby’s organs and try to understand if his tiny hands, legs, tummy, etc. are all forming as expected. Furthermore, the location of your placenta will be checked because if it is low-lying, it may affect your birth.

What Does Anomaly Scans Report Say About the Baby’s Development?

What Does Anomaly Scan Report Say About the Baby’s Development_

Your Anomaly Scan Report speaks volumes about your baby’s development – whether the little one is growing well.
The main purpose of this scan is to check for 11 conditions, some of which are very rare like open spina bifida, cleft lip, Hydrocephalus, diaphragmatic hernia, serious cardiac abnormalities, bilateral renal agenesis etc.

TIFFA Scan During Pregnancy

Targeted Imaging for Fetal Anomalies (TIFFA) scan is a targeted fetal anomaly scan done to ensure that there are no fetal abnormalities.

Can the Ultrasound Harm Me or My Baby?

Ultrasound scans have been used in pregnancy for decades and there are no evidence to show that they are harmful, if done according to the guidelines. It is the duty of the ultrasound doctor to ensure both you and your baby are safe.

What Will the Doctor Examine at the Second Trimester Anomaly Scans?

What Does Anomaly Scan Report Say About the Baby’s Development_

At the second-trimester Anomaly scan, the doctor will examine your baby’s organs and take measurements. Here are a few things she will look at:

  • The circumference of baby’s head to check if any brain problems are there.
  • Your baby’s spine to make sure that all the bones align.
  • The baby’s face to check for a cleft lip.
  • Your baby’s heart. The doctor must check that the atria and ventricles are equal in size and the valves in the heart should open and close with each heartbeat.
  • Your baby’s kidneys to ensure he has two kidneys and that urine flows freely into his bladder.
  • Whether your baby has been passing urine every half an hour now!
  • Your baby’s arms, legs, hands, and feet.

Once this trimester is over, gear up for the next and the last trimester.

Read Also: Third Trimester Growth Scan During Pregnancy


1. Can I Eat Before The Anomaly Scans?

Consuming food prior to undergoing a fetal ultrasound is permissible. The physician requests that the patient attend their growth scan appointment with a bladder that is fully distended. It is recommended to consume a  litre of water roughly one hour prior to the scheduled appointment.

2. What Is The Next Scan After The Anomaly Scan?

The Wellbeing Scan. It is an additional prenatal diagnostic procedure aimed at assessing the developmental progress of the fetus prior to delivery. At this point, the medical professionals conduct a series of health assessments and obtain measurements of your infant.

3. How Many Times Does The  Anomaly Scans Done?

Maybe two. A Growth Scan is typically conducted during the gestational period of 28 to 32 weeks in order to evaluate fetal growth and amniotic fluid volume. The second examination may be conducted in proximity to the deadline, accompanied by color Doppler investigations, within the 36-40 week timeframe, to assess the fetal presentation and determine the optimal mode of delivery.

4. Does A Growth Scan Painful?

At times, there may be a sensation of discomfort resulting from the pressure exerted by the probe on the bladder or from the manipulation of the vaginal probe. In the event of experiencing severe discomfort, kindly inform the technician.

5. Can You Find Out The Gender At The Growth Scan?

Typically, fetal sex determination via ultrasound imaging can be achieved at  16 weeks gestation. The precision of ascertaining the fetal sex positively correlates with the gestational age of the fetus. The precision of the results may fluctuate, ranging from 70.3% at 11 weeks to 98.7% at 12 weeks, and ultimately reaching 100% at 16 weeks.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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