Fetal Echocardiography scan

Protecting Little Hearts.

Fetal echocardiography is a test like an ultrasound that allows your doctor to check how the baby is performing and the functioning of the baby’s heart in the womb. This is usually done between 18-24 months in the second trimester. The waves produce the images in the echocardiogram to check the heart’s interior development. It also helps to check the blood flow in the heart and look for any abnormalities. 

When is Fetal Echocardiogram Used?

Not everyone requires a fetal echocardiogram. A simple ultrasound will get enough information if the baby is developing well. However, if the ultrasound report is not conclusive or the test reports are hazy, then the doctor might recommend you do an echocardiogram. You may also require to do the echocardiogram test if –

  • Your unborn child is at risk of heart abnormalities or other disorders.
  • You have used drugs and alcohol during your pregnancy.
  • You already have a child with a congenital heart condition.
  • You are suffering from certain medical diseases like – type 1 diabetes, lupus, rubella, phenylketonuria, etc.
  • You have been taking medication that causes a heart condition. 

OB-GYNs can also perform these tests. But usually, it is performed by an experienced technician or a sonographer. Once the results are out, it is reviewed by the Cardiologist.

What Happens During the Fetal Echocardiogram Test?

The fetal echocardiogram test is similar to a regular ultrasound. It is performed through your vagina (transvaginal echocardiography) or abdomen (abdominal echocardiography). Below is the description of what happens during the fetal echocardiography –

Transvaginal Echocardiography

You are asked to lie down on the examination table during the process. The sonographer will insert a probe into your vagina. It uses sound waves to create the fetus’ image. Transvaginal echocardiography is used in the earlier stage of the pregnancy. It helps in creating a clear image of the baby’s heart.

Abdominal Echocardiography

Abdominal echocardiography is similar to an ultrasound test. The sonographer applies a gel-like substance to your belly. Then they roll an ultrasound transducer on your abdomen to get the baby images. The transducer uses sound waves to produce the fetus’s images and evaluate if the fetus has any abnormalities. A fetal echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to examine your child’s heart. The echoes from dense objects, like the heart, are captured by a computer. After the procedure, the gel is cleaned off, and you can resume regular activities.

Why is Fetal Echocardiography Scan Performed?

Doctors perform echocardiography to detect any heart condition while the baby is in the womb. This test can provide more detailed images than a regular ultrasound. It can reflect the blood flow through the heart, the baby’s heart’s structure, and heart rhythm. Doctors would advise them to do a fetal echocardiography scan if – 

  • There is a family history of heart conditions.
  • A usual ultrasound detects an abnormal heart rhythm or a potential heart problem.
  • You are diagnosed with pregestational diabetes, lupus, or phenylketonuria.
  • You have rubella in the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • If you have epilepsy medicines or prescription acne medication can damage the baby’s developing heart.
  • An amniocentesis reveals a chromosome disorder.

How is Fetal Echocardiography Performed?

You do not have to prepare for a fetal echocardiography scan. It is quite similar to a regular ultrasound. You only need to drink plenty of water until you feel like urinating. The sonographer usually performs the test using any of the two methods –

  • Abdominal Echocardiography
  • Transvaginal Echocardiography

If the result is unclear or any deformity is detected, the doctors might ask you to undergo further testing. These tests include – fetal wellness assessment, nonstress test, biophysical profile, etc. If any fetal heart condition is detected, the doctor will prescribe certain medications to treat them. In addition to medications, counseling will inform you about the risks of congenital defects that your baby may face.

Why Choose Giggles?

A fetal echocardiography scan is considered one of the best tests to detect any congenital defect in the baby. It is easier for the doctor to plan the treatment before the baby is born. This increases the survival rate of the baby. To ensure you have a healthy baby and your tests are done accordingly, visit Giggles Hospital and consult our experts. At Giggles Hospital, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive healthcare services for expectant mothers and their babies. Our state-of-the-art facilities and experienced medical professionals ensure the highest standard of care throughout your pregnancy journey.

Our Doctors

Dr. Batchu Sowdamini

Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist View Profile
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Dr. Radhika Jupally

Gynecologist and Obstetrician View Profile
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Dr. Padmaja S

Gynaecologist and Obstetrician View Profile
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Frequently Asked Questions

The fetal echocardiography scan has no known risks, as it uses ultrasound, not radiation.

Everyone doesn't need to undergo a fetal echo test. However, if any abnormality is detected in the ultrasound test, the doctor might ask you to undergo the test.

A fetal echocardiography test takes around 30-45 minutes. Also, you do not have to make preparations for the test.

Fetal echocardiography is a gold standard test, showing blood flow, heart rhythm, and heart structure.

No. The fetal echocardiography test is not painful. It is a safe procedure with no side effects.