12 Week Dating Scans and 20 Week Anomaly Scans

If you’ve just found out you’re a mom-to-be chances are you’re full of questions about what to expect when you’re expecting. But don’t sweat it! Being nervous is totally normal. Here’s a look at two of the most important and informative ultrasound scans nearly all new mothers experience: the dating scan and the anomaly scan.


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What’s a Dating Scan?

Typically the first ultrasound in your pregnancy, the dating scan gives us a very astute estimate of the date your little guy or gal will arrive. Generally, the dating scan takes place between 10 and 12 weeks of pregnancy, though it can be as early as 8 weeks. The scan will allow your doctor to confirm your pregnancy and whether the fetus is properly implanted and developing normally inside your womb.

The dating scan is very important not only because it tells you when the baby’s coming, but also because it can detect problems at the onset, allowing both you and your doctor to be proactive about yours and the baby’s health. The scan will check that your baby has a healthy heart beat and that it is developing normally as well as examine the health of your uterus and surround pelvic structures to ensure everything will be smooth sailing right up until your next visit, right around 20 weeks.

The Anomaly Scan

Things get really exciting when it’s time for the anomaly scan right around the 20-week mark. This ultrasound scan is very special because it confirms the results of your dating scan and allows you to see your baby in great detail while your doctor takes a deeper look to ensure your baby’s healthy and that she’s right on track.

The anomaly scan will usually take place between 18 and 22 weeks of pregnancy. The scan gives your doctor a very close look inside your womb to examine your baby’s vital organs, brain development, the health of her heart and much more. The exam runs between 20 and 45 minutes (depending on how many buns you’re baking) and for parents, it is typically the most in-depth, mind-blowing ultrasound experience of the entire pregnancy.

What to Expect During the Anomaly Scan

Nearly all practitioners order an anomaly scan for moms-to-be, so don’t panic. Just as with the dating scan, you should come in with a full bladder to allow for better viewing. Once the exam is under way, your doctor will measure and check your baby from top to bottom, including her brain, spine, stomach, kidneys and even the four chambers of her heart to ensure that everything is normal. The best part is you get to watch the whole thing, which can be really exciting! Oh and don’t forget! If you’d rather not know the sex of the baby just yet, be sure to tell your sonographer.

Depending on the results of the anomaly scan, your doctor may advise further testing. For moms over the age of 35, past the due date, or expecting multiples, regular ultrasound monitoring is more likely. But don’t worry; ultrasound is safe, painless and generally non-invasive and it will keep you in the know about your precious bundle!

This post was written for Mums the Nerd by Glenn Josephik. Glenn is an account representative and the marketing coordinator at MedCorp LLC, the industry leader and premier business source for used portable ultrasound systems. You can follow Glenn Josephik on Google+.