Foetal anatomy scan

For added reassurance during early pregnancy, we offer a foetal anatomy scan so you can see how your baby's developing.


A foetal anatomy scan can detect problems with a growing baby, such as spina bifida and congenital heart problems. The test is carried out between 18 and 21 weeks of pregnancy, and scans the baby's head, brain and face, internal organs, spine and limbs. The scans do not cause harm to you or your baby. 

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    An experienced sonographer will carry out the scan. You'll be asked to lie down on a bed, and the sonographer will put ultrasound gel on your stomach. This ensures good contact between the machine and your skin. The sonographer will pass an ultrasound probe over your stomach. Black and white pictures of your baby will appear on a screen, and the sonographer will thoroughly examine the baby's anatomy. They will also be able to tell you whether it's a girl or a boy. The test should take about 20 minutes, but may take longer if the baby is moving.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    No preparation is needed for the test, though you may want to wear loose fitting clothing.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    The sonographer talks you through the scan images, so you'll get the results of the test on the day. If they suspect there is a problem, the sonographer may ask for a second opinion. You may be offered further tests and referred to a specialist for more information. You'll be able to discuss any concerns you may have with the specialist or consultant obstetrician.

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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