The vast majority of babies are perfectly normal. However, regardless of age, all women have a small chance of having a baby with structural abnormalities that cause physical or mental limitations. The fetal level 2 scan can diagnose and rule out many of these abnormalities at the level 2 scan centre in Dehradun.
This is a detailed scan performed at 18–20 weeks that examines each part of the fetal anatomy to determine if the baby is developing normally. Fetal structures such as the brain, spine, face, stomach, bowel, kidneys, urinary bladder, and limbs are given special consideration.
In addition to these structures, fetal growth, amniotic fluid, the umbilical cord, fetal tone, fetal movements, and the cervical canal are all evaluated.
Because of medical advancements, it is now standard practice at a level 2 scan centre in Dehradun to perform a level 2 USG on all pregnant mothers, regardless of whether they have a history of congenital abnormalities in previous issues or not.
Even if you had a first-trimester (level 1) sonogram as part of a first-trimester screening test, the more detailed level 2 sonogram is important because it provides your practitioner with additional valuable information about what’s going on with your baby.
In India, the level 2 scan is performed between the ages of 18 and 20 weeks.
It is best to have it done at 18 weeks so that you have a 2-week window to have any additional tests done, such as a quadruple marker or a review USG at Semwal Diagnostics if an abnormality is found.
The most important thing to remember is that you do not have to have an empty stomach. You may need to drink some water before your exam to ensure you have a full bladder, which makes taking ultrasound images easier.
At Semwal Diagnostics, the best level 2 ultrasound centre in Dehradun, you’ll lie on an exam table with your abdomen exposed, and a sonographer will apply gel and then move a transducer over your abdomen. The detailed level 2 ultrasound may take 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your baby’s position at the time of examination, so be patient for the best results.
If the baby’s position prevents the doctor from seeing certain parts of the fetus, you may be told to wait for a while and go for a walk or drink some juice.
During the scan, your doctor may show you your baby’s heartbeat, hands, feet, spine, and face. You may even notice your baby yawning, sucking a thumb, waving his or her hand, kicking, and so on.
Severe structural abnormalities, such as anencephaly, the fetus with multiple structural abnormalities, skeletal dysplasias, absent liquor with abnormal kidneys, and so on, can be detected in a very small number of cases at this stage.
In these cases, continuing the pregnancy is pointless, and termination of the pregnancy is the only option.
The detection of such abnormalities at this early stage aids in the timely and safe termination of a pregnancy (which is not allowed in India once the fetus crosses 20 weeks).
Soft markers (a few markers that indicate the risk of having any chromosomal abnormality) such as choroid plexus cysts, hypoplastic nasal bone, echogenic focus in the heart, fetal ventriculomegaly, and others are found in many cases.
Only a small percentage of babies with soft markers develop abnormalities. If any of these markers are detected on the USG scan, your practitioner will advise you whether additional testing is required (like amniocentesis, chorionic venous sampling, NIPT, etc.).
It is not necessary for every abnormality detected in the anomaly scan to result in the pregnancy being terminated. Some abnormalities can also be treated, whereas others are so minor that they have little impact on the baby’s birth and growth.
Although the uncertainty of what will happen during a level II ultrasound can cause anxiety or nervousness, it can be helpful to think of an anatomy scan as an opportunity for reassurance that your baby is developing normally. It’s also an excellent opportunity to get a sneak peek at what your baby will look like before birth.
If any unexpected problems are discovered during the scan, your provider will be able to address them. Seeking help and information throughout this process can help put your mind at ease.