Anomaly Scan Unit
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Anomaly Scan Unit

The Anomaly Scan Unit is found on the ground floor of the Outpatients Department.

Opening Hours
Monday to Friday from 8am until 12.30pm.

The clinic may be contacted on telephone number +35625455564

​No Photos or Videos Allowed during the Scan. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Anomaly Scan and when is it usually done?

This scan is ideally done between the 19th and 24th week of pregnancy. It's part of the regular checks for your baby's health in Malta.

Why have this scan?

The main purpose of this scan is to check the development of baby organs and body parts, the location of the placenta and to detect certain congenital defects. In most cases, you can learn the sex of the baby too. 

Do I have to take this scan?

It's your choice. Some parents want to know if their baby might have health issues, and some prefer not to know. If you decide against the scan, your pregnancy care continues as usual. But, it's important to understand all the details before deciding.

Is the scan safe?

Yes, it's considered safe for both mother and baby.

What will the scan be like?

You will be offered a scan that produces a two-dimensional (2-D) black and white image that gives only a side view of the baby. More detailed 3-D and coloured​ images aren't usually part of this check-up. Sometimes a vaginal scan may be required.

Do I need to consent for the test?

Remember, this is a medical test. You'll need to agree to it, so make sure you understand what's involved and ask any questions you have.

What does the scan show?

It takes a detailed look at your baby. Most times, it shows that the baby is healthy, but sometimes, it can find problems. Not all issues can be spotted, and some might be uncertain and require further tests. 

Can I bring someone with me?

It's a good idea to have someone come with you, ideally one person accompanies you. 

How should I prepare for the scan?

It's best not to empty the bladder for the scan. This helps us get clearer pictures of your baby, but sometimes, you might need to walk around or drink more if the pictures aren't clear enough.

What happens in the scan room?

A trained doctor or radiographer will do the scan in a dim room. You'll lie down and then you’ll be asked to expose your belly. The tissue paper will protect your clothing from the ultrasound gel. The gel makes sure there is good contact between the probe and your skin. The sonographer then passes a hand-held device called a probe over your skin. It is this probe which sends out ultrasound waves and picks them up when they bounce back. The ultrasound examination doesn't hurt, but you might feel some pressure that is needed to get better pictures. 

How long does it take?

About 30-40 minutes.

Can I get a picture of my baby?

We are happy to provide photos of your baby. However, please remember that the main focus at the time of the scan is to check your baby very carefully for any problems, so most of the scan time will be dedicated to this.

What if the scan looks normal?

Most scans show that the baby is healthy. But you can't always tell the baby's sex accurately, and not all issues can be seen.

Will I need another scan?

Maybe, if the images aren’t clear. If the sonographer cannot get a clear view, they may seek a second opinion or ask you to return for a repeat scan on another day. This is a common occurrence and doesn’t necessarily indicate any cause for concern. 

What if the scan finds a problem?

​You might get another opinion and/or be referred to a specialist if there's a concern. You will be given an appointment within a short period. You might be offered another test, such as an ‘amniocentesis' taking a sample of water around the baby,  to determine if there is a problem. If you are offered further tests you will be given more information about these tests. You can then choose whether or not you want to have them.  Further tests might be stressful, but they’re important. You can always talk to your midwife or doctor about your worries. 

What will happen if a type of abnormality is definitely found?

This depends on the problem and how serious it is. Some abnormalities may turn out not to be serious and some get better on their own. In either of these cases, you may be offered further scans throughout your pregnancy to monitor the condition. The specialised care team will provide you with timely, comprehensive support and information. 

Can anything be done before the baby is born?

Finding out about a condition before birth can help parents prepare themselves, and sometimes it can help to plan treatment after birth. In instances when your baby will need an operation soon after birth, such as the repair of a hernia in your baby’s tummy, arrangements can be made for the timing of delivery and the procedure that can be done within the first few hours after birth.

Can my baby have surgery before birth?

Only in very rare cases.

Will the scan find every condition?

Not always. Some conditions, like spina bifida, are easier to spot. Others, like heart defects, are harder. The anomaly scan may not detect every possible abnormality. There are instances where babies are born with abnormalities that were not identified during the scan.​

Remember, ultrasounds are helpful but not always 100% accurate. They’re great for monitoring your baby’s growth and preparing for their arrival. Talk to your healthcare provider for support and reassurance if you're worried​. You’re in good hands!

Information last updated: 21 January 2024