When you first find out you are pregnant, the excitement and the anxiety about the new phase of your life can be overwhelming. Soon enough, you begin to plan out your life with the inclusion of one extra being. The anticipation builds up as you go along with your pregnancy.
The thought that something may be wrong with your baby is nothing any mother wants to have. Unfortunately, with pregnancies, the fragile nature of the process makes it vulnerable to so many things. In that light, is a fetal echocardiography something you should dread or celebrate? Read on to learn more.
It is a sophisticated ultrasound test that involves fetal imaging to find out more about the health of a fetus during pregnancy. This test can be used to determine any heart irregularities of a fetus, as soon as four months after conception.
The main purpose of the sensitive ultrasound is to detect any congenital heart disease in fetuses. Unfortunately, this is the most common birth defect for children in America. When this test is done, it allows your attending doctor to prepare for emergency situations during the birth of your child.
This ultrasound uses sound waves that “echo” the features of a fetus’s heart. The sound waves are then analyzed by a specific machine, which produces images or echocardiograms of the heart’s structure. The pictures will depict all the important information about the functioning of your baby’s heart, including the blood flow through the fetus’s heart.
Typically, this test should be done in the second trimester of your pregnancy, that is, between 18-24 weeks.
During your clinical visits, the obstetrician will continuously be checking the progress of your pregnancy and the health of your fetus. When an irregular heart rate is detected during one of your ultrasound scans, it raises the alarm. At that stage, you have no reason to freak out.
The fetal echocardiography is the next step for analyzing the health of your fetus. This scan is only ordered as a precautionary measure. The idea of it is to ascertain that your fetus is in good health while trying to find an explanation for the irregular heart rate.
The results of the fetal echo scans do not necessarily have to be negative. Usually, the risks are only higher is you have an underlying health issue like diabetes, which can increase the risks of heart problems. Aside from that, if you have any history of having children with birth defects or have been undergoing any serious medication, all these may affect the outcomes of the fetal echo.