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Areas examined during the scan

The Head

  • Internal structures of the Brain are examined closely.
  • Measurements including Head circumference and Biparietal Diameter (BPD).
  • Lateral Ventricles, Cerebellum cisterna Magna and Nuchal Fold are recorded.
  • Baby’s face is examined to check there are 2 len’s. The lips and nose are examined to see if there are any cleft of the lips.
  • Clefts of the soft palate are difficult to examine and are often not detected by ultrasound.

The Heart

  • Four chambers of the heart
  • Heart Rate
  • Valves are opening and closing
  • The main arteries are joined to the Heart in the correct position
  • To check if any anomalies are seen

If there are any concerns about your baby’s heart it will be re-examined at 24-26 weeks, when it can be more clearly visualised. Some small V.S.D have been known to close by this time.

The Stomach

The stomach is below the heart and will be filled with amniotic fluid. This tells us the baby is swallowing.

The Abdominal Wall

Abdominal wall is checked to make sure all the organs are increasing inside. The cord insertion is checked to make sure no bowel is herniating out or other pathology is present.

  • Measurements: Abdominal circumference to assist in calculating baby’s size

The Kidneys and Bladder

Kidney sizes and bladder is checked to see if properly formed and functioning

The Spine

The spine is checked in 3 different positions to make sure alignment is correct and vertebra has formed. Images of skin line are taken to ensure there is no open spine defect.


Measurement of the Femurs and Humerus bones to check growth is appropriate for baby’s size. Bones of arms and feet are imaged to see if present.

Boy or Girl?

If there is good visualisation of your baby and if you wish to know, please inform the sonographer.

Placenta and umbilical Cord

  • The placenta’s position is imaged and how far the placental edge is away from the cervix. If the placenta is very low a transvaginal ultrasound will be offered to check how close the placental tissue is and if there are any blood vessels supporting this tissue close the cervix (vasa-previa)
  • The number of vessels within the umbilical cord is recorded. Normal cord is a 3 vessels (2 arteries and 1 vein)

Amniotic Fluid

Amniotic fluid is checked to see if the amount is in normal range.


  • Your cervix will be image and the length measured.
  • If your cervix is less than 30mm transabdominal or have a history of Lletz procedures then a cervical length assessment by transvaginal scan will be offered.


Although a number of birth defects can be identified by ultrasound, there are many that will not be detected. It is important to remember that a normal ultrasound does not always mean your baby will be born without any abnormalities.

Amniotic areas such as the heart, face and hands can be difficult to assess and not all defects are detectable. Some birth defects do not became apparent until the third trimester. Other factors, such as abdominal scars, your build, anterior placenta or the way the baby is lying can affect how much we can see.

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