Pregnancy is an exciting time filled with anticipation and wonder. However, it can also be a time of anxiety and worry, especially for first-time parents. One crucial aspect of prenatal care is the foetal anomaly scan, typically performed around the 20th week of pregnancy.
This detailed ultrasound examination is designed to detect potential abnormalities in the developing foetus. In this article, we will explore the importance of the anomaly scan, what it entails, and common abnormalities that can be detected.
Additionally, we will provide information on the costs and availability of the anomaly scan in Singapore and tips for preparing for the scan.
Image Source: iStock
What is an Anomaly Scan?
An anomaly scan is a non-invasive ultrasound procedure involving a detailed examination of the foetus to detect potential abnormalities. During the procedure, a sonographer will use a handheld device called a transducer to emit high-frequency sound waves through the abdomen, which bounce back to create an image of the foetus on a screen.
Timing of the anomaly scan
The anomaly scan is typically performed between 18 to 22 weeks of pregnancy. This is because, by this stage, the foetus has developed enough for the sonographer to examine its organs and structures in detail, while still being small enough to fit on the ultrasound screen.
What to expect during the scan
The scan usually takes around 30 minutes to an hour, and you may be asked to have a full bladder to improve the visibility of the foetus. The sonographer will examine the foetus’s head, brain, face, spine, heart, stomach, kidneys, limbs, and other organs to check for any abnormalities.
They may also measure the foetus’s growth, check the position of the placenta, and determine the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby. The sonographer will explain what they are doing throughout the scan and will happily answer any questions you may have.
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Why is the 20-Week Ultrasound Important?
The 20-week ultrasound, also known as the anomaly scan, is a critical component of prenatal care that provides essential information about the developing foetus’s health and development. What’s the significance of the 20-week ultrasound, and why is it a crucial step in monitoring pregnancy?
Identification of foetal abnormalities
The 20-week ultrasound, also known as the anomaly scan, is crucial in identifying any potential abnormalities or defects in the developing foetus. These can include structural abnormalities, chromosomal abnormalities, and other conditions impacting the baby’s health and development.
Early detection and management of complications
Early detection of foetus abnormalities allows healthcare providers to plan and manage any necessary interventions, including medical treatments, surgeries, or specialized care, to ensure the best possible outcome for the pregnancy.
Peace of mind for parents
The 20-week ultrasound can give parents peace of mind, knowing that their baby is developing well and any potential complications are being addressed. It can also help parents prepare for the birth of their child and make any necessary adjustments to their lifestyle or home to accommodate any specific needs the baby may have.
The anomaly scan is a critical component of prenatal care that can significantly impact the mother’s and baby’s health and well-being.
Common Abnormalities Detected During Anomaly Scan
Various abnormalities in the developing foetus can be detected during an anomaly scan, ranging from structural and chromosomal abnormalities to other less common conditions. This section will discuss the most common types of abnormalities that can be identified during the anomaly scan, their causes, and potential implications for the pregnancy.
It is important to note that while detecting an abnormality can be distressing, it allows healthcare providers to take necessary steps to manage and monitor the pregnancy effectively, ensuring the best possible outcome for both the mother and the baby.
Structural abnormalities refer to physical defects or malformations in the foetus’s organs, limbs, or other structures. These include cleft lip or palate, spina bifida, heart defects, and skeletal abnormalities.
Chromosomal abnormalities are genetic disorders caused by abnormal numbers or structures of chromosomes in the foetus’s cells. These can include Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, and Patau syndrome, among others.
Other abnormalities that may be detected during the anomaly scan include problems with the placenta, low levels of amniotic fluid, and abnormalities in the umbilical cord. These issues can significantly impact the baby’s health and development and may require specialized care or intervention.
Cost and Availability of Foetal Anomaly Scan in Singapore
In Singapore, the cost of a foetal anomaly scan can vary depending on the healthcare provider and the package chosen. Healthcare providers, such as hospitals and clinics, offer a range of packages that can include anomaly scans and other prenatal tests and consultations. The cost of a private foetus anomaly scan in Singapore can start from SGD 200.
The availability of foetus anomaly scans in Singapore is widespread, with private and public healthcare providers offering this critical prenatal test. However, patients should know the cost and eligibility criteria when selecting their healthcare provider for the anomaly scan.
Preparing for Anomaly Scan
To ensure the best possible results of the anomaly scan, there are several recommendations that patients can follow. These include:
- Drinking plenty of water before the scan to have a full bladder
- Wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to allow easy access to the abdomen
- Bringing a companion for emotional support
- Asking any questions or concerns about the scan beforehand to ease any anxiety
Checking baby image through an ipad | Image Source: iStock
What to expect after the scan
After the anomaly scan, patients may receive preliminary results, and the healthcare provider will discuss any significant findings. In some cases, further testing may be required to confirm the diagnosis. Patients should discuss any concerns or questions with their healthcare provider to ensure that they understand the next steps and any necessary follow-up procedures.
The anomaly scan is a critical step in monitoring the health and development of the foetus. In some cases, follow-up procedures, such as additional ultrasounds or further diagnostic testing, may be necessary to assess and manage any potential complications or abnormalities detected during the anomaly scan.
Patients should discuss any necessary follow-up procedures with their healthcare provider to ensure they receive the appropriate care and support.
Image Source: iStock
The foetal anomaly scan, also known as the 20-week ultrasound, is a crucial step in monitoring the health and development of the foetus. It can help identify potential complications or abnormalities early, allowing healthcare providers to take necessary interventions to ensure the best possible outcome for both the mother and the baby.
As expectant parents, it is essential to prioritise the anomaly scan and attend all recommended prenatal appointments. This will ensure the health and safety of the developing foetus and provide parents with peace of mind throughout their pregnancy.
In conclusion, the foetal anomaly scan is a vital component of prenatal care that can help identify potential foetal complications or abnormalities.
As such, expectant parents should take all necessary steps to prepare for the scan, follow any recommendations from their healthcare providers, and attend all necessary follow-up appointments. By doing so, parents can ensure the best possible outcome for their pregnancy and the birth of their child.
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