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Fetal Cardiac Program
Fetal Cardiac Program

What happens at an appointment

After you register for your test, you will be asked a series of routine questions about your pregnancy and general health. This helps us to ensure we take all the steps necessary to provide a complete evaluation of your baby’s heart. The test itself may take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour and depends on how easily we are able to obtain clear images of the heart.

A fetal echocardiogram is then performed by a member of our team, either a sonographer or fellow who has been specially trained to perform this evaluation. Because we are examining the baby within the womb, the image quality is very dependant upon the position and activity of the baby. To improve the images, during this test you may be asked to empty your bladder, move from side-to-side or even take a brief walk. You may eat or drink before this test and it is not necessary to have a full bladder. For these reasons, a longer test does not imply that there is a heart problem.

During the test, the sonographer or fellow will not give you the results. After your test is complete, the person performing your scan will review the images with one of the physician members of our team. The physician may choose to obtain more images at this time. After all of the images are obtained, the doctor will review the results of the test with you and you will be given a copy of the results. A follow-up evaluation may also be arranged at this time.

As this may be a stressful time for you, we would recommend that your partner or another family member accompany you to this appointment. We would recommend against bring small children to this appointment. The Children's Play Park offers day care services for children over 2 1/2 years of age. This service is free of charge by the Women's Auxillary. It is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.