Generally between 18-20 weeks of pregnancy during your second trimester, you will experience a Level 2 ultrasound known as the ‘anatomy scan’.
This scan doesn’t just offer a fascinating peek at your developing baby, but a wonderful opportunity to gain better insight into whether everything is going as it should be for your little bub.
While it can be scary for some anxious Mums, it’s important to remember that early detection of anything of note means that your OBGYN can help ensure that the right medical team is available to provide the best medical care possible – both throughout your pregnancy and after your give birth.
The Sex of Your Baby
Let’s start with the exciting part. If you haven’t already found out through completing a NIPT test (noninvasive prenatal test), then your Level 2 ultrasound will be able to tell you the sex of your baby, so you can find out whether you are carrying a little girl, little boy, or perhaps even both if you happen to be carrying twins. Your technician will also look at whether the genitals appear to be developing correctly.
If you would like to keep the sex of your baby a surprise, then be sure to let your ultrasound technician know so that you don’t see anything in your photos that will be a giveaway!
Your Baby's Face and Neck
How wonderful, you will get to have a nice peek at your bub’s little face! If the baby is positioned to allow a good view, then by now your baby would have developed enough to be able to see his or her little facial features with greater detail than your previous scans.
A priority for the technician will be looking for any signs of slow development in the baby’s facial features, or seeing if there is sign of clefts of the lip and palate (this is sometimes difficult to see or detect).
Although this was likely checked at your week 12 scan, your technician will probably have another look at the nuchal fold thickness in your baby’s neck which gives insight into the baby’s development.
Your Baby's Heart
Your technician will have a look at your baby’s heart, and assess such things as your baby’s heart rate and whether it is beating within a normal range (usually between 120-180 beats per minute), and whether four chambers of the heart are visible and appear to be functioning.
A Look at Your Baby's Other Organs
The scan will also help your technician have a look at your baby’s other major organs and their positioning, including your baby’s diaphragm, kidneys, bladder, stomach and abdominal wall.
Your Baby's Spine and Bones
By now, your baby’s skeleton should be hardening meaning your technician can take a better look at how it is developing. They will likely measure and assess the shape of your baby’s skull, and have a look at your baby’s limbs e.g. fibia, humerus, femur, feet femur length, tibia, ulna, hands, radius.
Placenta, Cord and Amniotic Fluid
Of course your technician will also have a look at the all important placenta, umbilical cord and amniotic fluid which are providing the living space and life source for your little growing bub.
The positioning of your placenta, whether the umbilical cord is entering the abdomen normally, and whether there is sufficient amniotic fluid surrounding your baby will all be looked at and assessed.