Protect Your Health

Protect Your Health

Understanding Some Facts About Fetal Echocardiography

by Claire Ward

If you are an expectant mother, then you may be extremely excited about your ultrasound appointments. The first imaging test will be completed between the 18 and 20 week mark and it is often called the fetal screening test. This test shows the age of the fetus as well as the condition of the placenta and the volume of fluid held around your child. After this imaging test, your physician may suggest fetal echocardiography. Keep reading to learn about the test and to find out the answers to some pertinent questions you may have.

Why Is The Test Needed?

A fetal echocardiogram is completed to investigate your child's heart. It is typically completed to make sure that all four heart chambers have developed fully and properly without any defects. If heart defects are located, the problem can be assessed over the length of the pregnancy and emergency medical care can be arranged immediately after the birth of your child. For example, a newborn open heart surgery may be required very soon after birth. This can be arranged ahead of time with the appropriate staff. In general, the completion of the imaging test and the planning of a subsequent treatment plan will help to greatly increase the odds of survival of your child after delivery.

While fetal echocardiography may be scheduled once a defect is detected, this is not the only case when imaging may be suggested. Your family history that includes a heart defect of your own or of one of your ancestors may indicate that the test should be completed. This is also true if you have given birth to a child previously with a heart defect. 

Certain genetic abnormalities may lead to the testing, and this is also something that may be necessary if you take a medication that is known to cause birth defects in fetuses. For example, certain seizure medicines can cause heart defects. Risky behavior like drinking or drug use can lead to issues as well, and risks can develop due to long-term ailments like lupus. 

Diabetes complications can lead to the poor formation of the fetal heart, so the fetal echocardiogram may be scheduled if you have the disease. If you have a general high risk pregnancy due to your age or past miscarriages, then the test may be completed as well.

How Is The Test Completed?

The echocardiogram is completed with a transducer in much the same way that the pregnancy ultrasound is completed. The transducer is placed on your abdomen and is angled so the released soundwaves travel through the skin and to your growing child's heart. The images wave and then bounce back to the transducer and create an image of the organ. The image appears on a monitor and the chambers of the heart are evaluated.

A typical fetal echocardiogram is a 2-D imaging test that allows your physician to see the heart and to make sure the heart works properly. However, a doppler test may be completed as well that shows how the blood is flowing through the heart. This test can help to show valve deformities or abnormalities, and it can help to gauge the severity of a heart problem based on how fast blood flows through the heart. The doppler imaging can usually be completed at the same time as the 2-D or standard test. However, if a closer examination is needed, then color doppler and 3-D imaging may need to be completed. 

All echocardiogram tests are safe for you and your child, like regular ultrasounds, so you do not have to be concerned about your growing child if the testing must be completed. Also, you should not be alarmed if subsequent echocardiograms need to be completed. This helps to evaluate the heart defect up until your child is born. 

For more information about ultrasounds and if you may need different kinds, contact a medical professional or visit websites like


About Me

Protect Your Health

A few years ago, my father visited a dermatologist for the first time in his life. During this visit, he was diagnosed with several skin cancers. Thankfully, my dad’s dermatologist expertly removed these cancerous spots. If you’ve haven’t visited a dermatologist before, consider doing so sooner rather than later. Many forms of skin cancer are completely treatable if they’re detected early. Besides seeing a dermatologist, you should inspect your skin for any changes regularly. This is especially important if you have numerous moles on your body. On this blog, I hope you will discover ingenious tips to help you protect your health. Enjoy!