Fetal echocardiography is a form of ultrasound that is used to specifically evaluate the unborn baby’s heart health. Fetal echocardiography is typically performed during the second trimester around 22 weeks. The soundwaves enable the physician to find abnormalities in the heart, blood flow or heartbeat.
Your doctor may recommend this procedure if you have a family history of heart disease or other medical conditions. Other reasons you may consider getting fetal echocardiography include medications, abnormal genetic screening and previous children with heart-related problems.
It’s important to detect any heart defects as early as possible. Because it is hard to detect heart defects, sometimes fetal echocardiography can be inconclusive. Therefore, your doctor may want to perform the test a couple of times.
Fetal echocardiography does not have dangerous side effects. Unlike other prenatal ultrasounds, you will not need to drink water for the test. It generally takes between 30 minutes to an hour to complete the test.