Close Close
Mother and Baby

Everything You Need To Know About Your Anomaly (Or 20 Week) Scan

It’s a mum-to-be milestone, so get clued up on what actually happens at your 20-week scan

As pregnancy events go, your anomaly scan is up there with one of the biggest. It tends to be referred to as your 20-week scan, but can actually happen from then up until about 22 weeks, so don’t worry if yours is booked in for a bit later.

And while excitement often revolves around potentially finding out whether you’re having a boy or girl, there are other elements to this all-important scan.

What your sonographer’s looking for

In essence, this appointment is about confirming everything spotted in your 12-week scan – so the number of babies you’re carrying and a heartbeat – as well as seeing how your little one’s developing.

‘From 20 weeks, we can clearly see individual structures in your baby, such as his heart and brain,’ says consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Shreelata Datta.

‘So, your sonographer will look at his organs and how things like his hands, tummy, face, spine and feet are forming, as well as the circumference of his head. All this can help detect certain conditions including cleft lip.’

The location of your placenta will also be checked as, if it’s lying low (placenta praevia), this can affect your birth. And you can usually find out the gender of your baby.

In essence, this appointment is about confirming everything spotted in your 12-week scan

‘There’ll be a chat with whoever’s doing your scan beforehand, so you can ask any questions and tell him or her whether you want to know the sex,’ says Shreelata.

If you choose not to but change your mind later on, finding out is easier with some hospitals than others.

‘Departmental policies vary, so ask about this,’ says Shree. ‘Some ultrasound reports contain the baby's sex while others don’t, so another scan may be necessary.’

What happens during the scan

This scan is pretty much the same as your first one (yep, you can bring someone with you and yes, you’ll need a full bladder again) although it may take a bit longer – between 30 minutes and an hour – because it’s looking at more measurements and aspects of your baby’s development.

‘Timing depends on who is doing your scan and what they’re seeing,’ explains Shree.

‘Afterwards, they’ll talk you through findings or refer you to a midwife to do that – it varies from hospital to hospital.’

More than 45,000 women have an anomaly detected at their 20-week scan each year; for advice and support, visit the charity ARC (Antenatal Results & Choices) website here

Related content:


No comments have been made yet.

Subscribe to Mother&Baby!

Be the best mum you can be and let Mother & Baby guide you along the way. Each issue is jam packed with REAL advice from mums just like you. Subscribe today & get a free welcome gift!

Win £1,000 of Carpetright vouchers
Win £1,000-worth of Carpetright vouchers!

Create a fantasy world on your floor with your baby for your chance to win £1,000-worth of Carpetright vouchers!

Win an Abeille cellular blanket from Hippychick
Win an Abeille cellular blanket from Hippychick

Abeille Cellular Blankets, available fromHippychick, are delectably soft, made from 100% cotton and now available in six super-stylish colours. Click for your chance to win!

Win a year’s supply of Blueiron liquid iron supplement
Win a year’s supply of Blueiron liquid iron supplement

Blueiron is Scandinavia’s fastest-growing liquid iron supplement and has already helped thousands of women low in iron during pregnancy, breastfeeding and those with intense fitness regimes. Click for your chance to win!

Win a bumper box of Kiddylicious Super Snacks
Win a bumper box of Kiddylicious Super Snacks

Made from quinoa, lentils and chickpeas, and packed with vegetable protein, Kiddylicious Super Snacks help to keep your little ones whizzing about. Click for your chance to win!

Ovulation Calculator
Ovulation calculator

Trying for a baby? Work out when you're most fertile to increase your chances of getting pregnant with our easy-to-use ovulation calculator.

Pregnant woman
Due Date Calculator

When is your baby due? If you’re having trouble remembering dates and counting up the days on your fingers and toes, don’t worry – use our due date calculator.

Get M&B in your inbox!

Sign up to Mother&Baby today and get news and advice about your body and your baby straight to your inbox every week.