Fetal Echo
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When Is the Best Time For a Fetal Echo?

Between 18-22 weeks of pregnancy. If there is a need to know earlier in the pregnancy, a vaginal ultrasound can be performed at 12-14 weeks.

How clear are the pictures of the heart?

The quality of the picture depends on:
1) The position of the fetus. If the spine is up, it is difficult for sound waves to pass through bone and give a clear picture.
2) The age of the fetus. The closer to delivery, the more difficult it may be to see the heart.
3) The distance the transducer on the mother's abdomen is from the fetus. A larger mother may not show as clear of a picture.

Remarkably clear echo showing twins before birth

How long does a study take?

A fetal echocardiogram may take up to 45 minutes or more if an abnormality is detected. Additional visits may be required if the position of the fetus is not favorable for a clear picture. Follow-up visits for abnormal findings may be required.

Who Performs Fetal Echos?

An ultrasonographer trained in fetal echocardiography may do the first study, which is then reviewed by a pediatric cardiologist who has expertise in fetal echocardiography. The cardiologist may obtain additional images.