Have you been asked to take a fetal cardiac scan? Don’t panic; it’s a simple and painless procedure that won’t take up much of your time.
A fetal cardiac scan is a detailed ultrasound of your baby’s heart before your baby is born. It gives your doctor the chance to completely evaluate your baby’s heart. This is not quite possible during your regular obstetric ultrasound.
It is usually done in your second trimester, between weeks 20–24. A fetal cardiac scan looks for heart defects, the most common abnormality your baby can be born with. It checks the flow of blood in your baby’s arteries and veins and detects other abnormalities such as:
- Narrowing of the arteries
- Holes in your baby’s heart
- Valves that don’t open and close properly
This test uses waves of sound that ‘echo’ off your baby’s heart. The echo machine then analyzes these waves and creates a picture of your baby’s heart. These pictures help your doctor carefully analyze your baby’s blood flow and heartbeat.