In the second trimester of a woman’s pregnancy the doctor orders for an ultrasound scan. There are two types of ultrasound scan, Anomaly and Echo scan. The Anomaly scan is a detailed ultrasound scan that looks at the baby’s body and observes the position of the placenta, the umbilical cord, the amneotic fluid around the baby and the mother’s uterus and cervix. It is also performed to check for any abnormalities in the baby’s growth or development. Whereas the echo scan is performed especially to the structure and function of an unborn child’s heart. The exam uses the sound waves that ‘echo’ of the structures of the child’s heart. The Echo scan is ordered only if any abnormalities are seen during the anomaly test or if there is any history of heart disease in the family. Both these tests are performed in the second trimester, usually around 18-20 weeks of pregnancy.
No special preparation is required for the tests. You will be told to wear a gown for easy access during the test. Since the ultrasound carries minimal risks unlike with the CT-Scan and X-ray it is preferred during pregnancy.
The Anomaly scan looks in detail at the baby’s bones, heart brain, spinal cord, face, kidneys, and abdomen. If the doctor senses any abnormality in the heart formation or its heart beats, he/she can order for the Echo scan to understand the heart functioning better in the baby.
The test is performed by an experienced sonographer, in many cases, the gynecologist themselves prefer doing it. First, the doctor applies some gel on the women’s belly and move a transducer across the stomach to obtain images of the baby on a screen Post all the screening and observations the doctor wipes off the gel from the stomach. The anomaly test individually take about half hour, however, if the echo test is also ordered it might take a little long