This leaflet is to help you understand what to expect during the second-trimester ultrasound to assess the baby’s risk of fetal face malformations.

In the second trimester, many women will be offered a detailed ultrasound scan to assess the baby's physical development. A fetal anatomy study, including the fetus face, will be performed during this exam. 

How is the fetal face viewed? 

The scan to study the baby's face is typically done transabdominally, which means that an ultrasound probe is passed through the abdominal wall to see through your uterus. The proper examination of the facial structures includes three planes. 

What can an anomaly scan detect? 

Several fetal face anomalies can be detected using this examination. However, it is critical to understand that no screening test can detect all cases. This means that in a small number of cases, babies are born with health conditions that were not detected by the scan. 

Ultrasound examination of the fetal face allows for the detection of abnormalities that may lead to the diagnosis of syndromes, chromosomal abnormalities, or even rarer conditions such as infections or metabolic disorders.

What other questions should I ask?

  • During the scan, was my baby's face assessed? 
  • Can I see a profile of my baby’s face? 
  • Is the nasal bone present? 
  • Should I have more tests done? 

Last updated July 2022