Capital Pediatric Cardiology

Fetal Echocardiography

Fetal Echocardiography services offered throughout Central California

Nothing is as distressing and frightening as learning your unborn baby may have a heart condition. The compassionate team at Capital Pediatric Cardiology understands this is a difficult time and quickly schedules and performs fetal echocardiography. This safe ultrasound provides answers, allowing you to plan for the care your baby needs to thrive. To schedule an appointment, use online booking today or call one of the 10 offices in Sacramento, Roseville, Modesto, Placerville, Cameron Park, Stockton, Chico, Anderson, and Reading, California

What is fetal echocardiography?

If your pregnancy care or a routine obstetric ultrasound reveals any concerns about your baby’s heart, your obstetrician sends you to Capital Pediatric Cardiology for fetal echocardiography.

Fetal echocardiography is a specialized ultrasound test to closely evaluate an unborn baby’s heart. During this procedure, the team at Capital Pediatric Cardiology obtains images showing details about the size, position, structure, function, and rhythm of the baby’s heart.

The echocardiogram allows them to diagnose congenital heart disease, giving your baby faster access to interventions after birth. Knowing about heart conditions before birth leads to better long-term results, especially if your baby has a complex heart disease.

When would I need fetal echocardiography?

You may need to have this painless, safe diagnostic procedure if any of the following concerns exist:

  • Family history of congenital heart disease
  • Fetal heart abnormalities (found on a routine obstetric ultrasound)
  • Abnormal fetal heart rate or rhythm
  • Problems found on ultrasound (such as excessive fluid buildup around organs)
  • Chromosomal abnormalities associated with congenital heart disease
  • Exposure to certain drugs during pregnancy

Obstetricians may also recommend fetal echocardiography if the mother has a high-risk health condition that could affect the baby’s heart, such as diabetes or lupus.

What should I expect during and after fetal echocardiography?

Fetal echocardiography is performed the same way as your routine prenatal ultrasounds. You lie on the exam table, and your provider puts gel on your belly and then places the transducer on your skin and moves it around.

If you need fetal echocardiography early in your pregnancy, your provider may use a small transducer placed into your vagina. This often obtains clearer images of the baby’s tiny heart.

The experienced Capital Pediatric Cardiology team reviews the images and identifies any heart concerns. If they detect a heart problem, they explain the condition and discuss treatment options. 

Some heart defects heal on their own. For example, a small hole (atrial or ventricular septal defects) may slowly close after your baby is born.

Many congenital heart conditions are treated after delivery with medication and minimally invasive cardiology procedures to repair the problem. Some children grow into adulthood with heart abnormalities. They may live a healthy life or develop problems that need future treatment. 

Call Capital Pediatric Cardiology or request an appointment online today to learn more about fetal echocardiography.