What do they look for at the booking or anomaly scan?

The booking scan is sometimes also called the ?anomaly scan? (anomaly=abnormality). This scan is normally done at about 18-22 weeks since your last period. The scan may be carried out by a Doctor (radiologist or obstetrician), Midwife, Radiographer or Ultrasonographer. The basic idea for this scan is: (1) to measure the baby to confirm that your dates are correct. If you are uncertain about your dates then the scan will give an estimate of your due date. This is particularly important if you have irregular periods or got pregnant on the pill. Normally the measurements taken include: Femur length(FL)= thigh bone length biparietal diameter (BPD)= measuring across the head from ear to ear head circumference (HC) abdominal circumference(AC) In addition, the fluid filled spaces (ventricles) of the brain are often measured, as is the cerebellum (responsible for balance and co-ordination, and abnormally shaped in spina bifida). (2) to count how many babies there are. This is just in case you''re expecting twins that haven''t been picked up before now, as sometimes these are missed at an early scan at 10-12 weeks (3) to look at carefully and check the anatomy of the baby or babies, ensuring that major structures such as heart, brain, kidneys, limbs, stomach etc are present and appear normal. It is at this time that all the baby''s major organs and structures are developed sufficiently to see them in detail. Scanning too early (say at 15 weeks) will mean that, for example, the brain and heart can''t be seen properly. Too late, for example at 26 weeks, makes dating your pregnancy more difficult and if there is a problem with the baby on scan, leaves less time to discuss and arrange diagnostic tests such as cordocentesis (taking blood from the baby''s umbilical cord to look at the chromosomes), amniocentesis (taking fluid from around the baby) or more detailed scans (see invasive prenatal diagnosis, p000). Often the baby''s face and lips can be seen (to check for cleft palate or hare lip) and feet are looked at for evidence of club foot (talipes).
What happens when I have ultrasound?

If you have ultrasound in the early weeks of pregnancy, you may be asked to drink plenty of fluid; an enlarged bladder makes it easier to scan for a tiny fetus. You will lie on a bed beside the machine and lift up your clothes - wear something loose. The procedure takes about 20 minutes.

The machine The screen shows an image of the fetus from which the necessary measurements are taken
The screen image The image is not always clear. The technician will point out the head, heart and limbs. This scan shows an 18-week fetus.
The scan operator Ultrsound may be done by a radiographer, an ultrasonographer, or a doctor or midwife

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