What Is a Fetal Anomaly?

A fetal anomaly, as defined by Dictionary.com, refers to any "deviation from the norm or average" in a fetus' structural development. WebMD uses the term "unusual ultrasound" to describe any ultrasound revealing fetal anomaly. The National Center for Biotechnology Information explains that the implications of any given fetal anomaly can vary from benign to serious and stresses that medical guidance is essential in evaluating each individual case.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information encourages pregnant women and their partners to avail themselves of regular ultrasound screenings and consultations with their doctors in order to stay informed of any anomalies and what they might mean for the health of both mother and fetus. The NCBI further explains that information gleaned regarding certain fetal anomalies can empower pregnant women and their partners to prepare for postnatal treatment and/or infant disability, to choose managed delivery in a specialist setting, select intrauterine therapy, or in some cases, opt for termination of the pregnancy. WebMD counsels patience in the case of unusual ultrasounds, and points out that many women whose ultrasounds reveal fetal anomalies go on to have healthy babies. The most common next step after the discovery of a fetal anomaly is further testing, according to WebMD, most commonly an ultrasound II test, also called "targeted ultrasound" or "fetal anomaly scan."