Pregnancy – Morphology Ultrasound

A morphology ultrasound scan is performed in the second trimester of pregnancy between 19 and 22 weeks gestation. It is routine practice for all pregnant women to undergo a second trimester morphology scan as part of their antenatal care.

The primary focus of this scan is to assess the growth and development of your baby by performing a thorough anatomical and structural assessment.

A comfortably full bladder is required for this scan.  Please drink approximately 500ml of water an hour before your appointment time and try not to empty your bladder before the scan.

A full bladder can help the sonographer obtain better views of your baby as well as improve visualisation of your uterus, cervix and pelvic structures.

A morphology ultrasound is a comprehensive scan of your uterus, pelvic structures as well as your developing baby.  The scan is usually performed through the lower abdomen, although occasionally, a transvaginal (internal) scan may be required to obtain a better view of your baby. The transvaginal examination is performed with an empty bladder and is not harmful to you or your baby. Your Sonographer will discuss with you in detail any questions or concerns you may have, if a transvaginal ultrasound is required.

A saline based gel is applied to the skin and an ultrasound probe is used to generate images of your baby.

The morphology scan includes the following:

Anatomical and structural assessment of your baby
– we routinely assess:

  • Head and brain, face, profile
  • Heart and diaphragm
  • Spine
  • Abdomen; including stomach, bladder and kidneys
  • Umbilical cord insertion
  • Upper and lower limbs, hands and feet

Fetal growth assessment – we measure the following structures:

  • Bi-parietal distance (distance across the head)
  • Head circumference (distance around the head)
  • Abdominal circumference
  • Femur length
  • Humeral length

These measurements are compared to a normal reference range for the age of the baby and then combined to give an average gestational age.

  • Determining the number of babies – if you have not had a prior ultrasound, this is the first opportunity to diagnose a twin pregnancy.
  • Measuring the fetal heart rate
  • Assessing the volume of amniotic fluid around your baby
  • Assessing the placental position – The appearance and position of the placenta is assessed, as well as the location of the umbilical cord insertion.
  • Measuring the cervical length – the scan will assess the length and appearance of the cervix. It is sometimes difficult to see the cervix through the lower abdomen and a transvaginal ultrasound may be required to obtain an accurate measurement.
  • Assessing maternal pelvic structures – pelvic organs, including uterus and ovaries are imaged.

It is possible to determine the gender of your baby at this stage of the pregnancy. However, we are not always able to confirm the gender with absolute certainty. This may be due to a number of factors such as fetal position or an anterior placenta.

Please let your Sonographer know if you wish to know the gender of your baby and this will be assessed at the end of the scan once all of the essential views and measurements have been completed.

The morphology scan is a detailed assessment of your baby. A scan at this stage of your pregnancy is able to detect a wide range of structural problems.  A normal scan is reassuring, however, ultrasound is not able to detect all potential problems or complications as some may be too subtle to detect or may not develop until later in the pregnancy.

The actual scanning time for your morphology ultrasound may vary depending on the position of your baby, the gestational age and the degree of bladder filling, however 1 hour is allocated for this scan. On occasion, you may be asked to return later in the day or on another day to obtain additional images. If this is required, your Sonographer will discuss this in more detail with you.

There is no radiation dose associated with ultrasound.

Your morphology ultrasound scan does not have any known risks, side effects or complications and is considered very safe.

Our Customer Service Team will be able to advise you of all costs involved with your morphology ultrasound scan, including any out of pocket cost (if relevant).

All ultrasound scans are digitally recorded. At Qscan, a subspecialty trained Radiologist interprets the images and provides a report for your doctors.

Reports and images will be available electronically via the Qscan MyResults Patient Access app and web portal 7 days after your report has been processed.  If required, films are available for collection or delivery to your referring practitioner.

You will need an appointment with your doctor to discuss these results and your antenatal management.

Please discuss which Qscan Clinic location is best suited for your appointment at the time of booking.

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