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Every pregnancy is different, but each one needs the best prenatal care to ensure that the mom and baby are both healthy until birth (and beyond, of course). One test that is vital to you and your baby's health is the congenital anomaly scan.
What can I expect from a congenital anomaly scan?
A congenital anomaly scan (CAS), sometimes called congenital anatomy scan or 20-week scan, is done in the second trimester, between 18 to 22 weeks. The International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (ISUOG) recommends that CAS ultrasound be performed as part of the routine prenatal care for pregnant all women.
The procedure is just a regular 2D or 3D ultrasound, so it's perfectly safe for you and your baby. It aims to check if you're carrying multiples and to rule out 'fetus' growth abnormalities, such as anencephaly (absence of the scan top of the skull), heart defects and bowel obstructions, and congenital malformations, such as cleft lip and spina bifida.
Here's how a typical CAS goes: First, the sonographer will check if you're carrying one baby, twins or more. He will check for the baby's heartbeat, his position in your womb, and the baby's gestational size and age.
He will also check your amniotic fluid levels, the placenta, including its appearance and location in your uterus, and the baby's umbilical cord. If you're having more than one baby, he will count how number of amniotic sacs.
The shape and structure of the baby's head and brain
Your baby's face to see the mouth and cleft palate
Your baby's spine to see if the bone align
Your baby's abdominal wall to make sure it covers all the internal organs.
Your baby's heart, its chambers, and valves
Your baby's stomach, kidneys, and of course, arms, legs, fingers, and toes
Your baby's sex (though this can be determined earlier via another kind of prenatal testing)
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It should take about an hour or more to complete. The length of time mainly depends on the baby's position in the womb which is a huge factor for the sonographer to be able to check for the abovementioned areas more accurately. It will cost you about Php1,600 to Php4,000.
One expectant mom in the Smart Parenting Village asked if a CAS is the same as 3D /4D ultrasound — it is not. The other moms in the Village were quick to emphasize the importance of CAS in checking for the baby's development in the womb. A 2D ultrasound is enough and typical when doing a CAS; having it done via 3D/4D ultrasound is optional or sometimes prescribed by your doctor.
Many preggos are afraid to have CAS done because of what the words "abnormality" or "anomaly" imply. But most of the time, no problems are found, and the baby is developing typically. If the sonographer suspects a problem, he or she will tell you to talk to your docor right away. You may still need to to do follow-up tests to be sure.
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Just think of it this way: Whatever the results, they will be extremely helpful to your doctor in caring for you and your baby going forward.