Advanced Imaging

Most pregnant mothers undergo a fetal anatomical survey with ultrasound at 18-20 weeks as part of their routine pregnancy care. This ultrasound is performed to visualize the fetus in detail, looking for any structural defects that may need to be addressed at time of delivery, or in some cases, while the patient is still pregnant.

In a small portion of these cases, not every detail can be seen clearly with this exam and thus more advanced imaging is indicated. Also, some maternal conditions or prior pregnancy outcomes may indicate a need for more advanced imaging. Fortunately Woman’s is able to provide these options right here in Baton Rouge.

Comprehensive Ultrasound Scan

A comprehensive scan is different from the basic scan because it requires a higher level of imaging equipment and analysis. It includes a more detailed assessment of the fetus.

It is intended for high-risk patients for a suspected fetal anatomic, growth or genetic abnormality.

How the Test is Performed

The ultrasound takes approximately 30 minutes and isn't uncomfortable or painful at all. Some doctors will ask you to drink several glasses of water before the test. A full bladder will help view the baby better.

3-D and 4-D Ultrasound

3-D and 4-D ultrasonography are advanced imaging technologies that allows doctors to evaluate fetuses in ways that are not possible using conventional 2-D ultrasound. 3-D and 4-D can be used to evaluate certain types of high-risk problems such as:

  • Genetic syndromes
  • Brain anomalies
  • Chest masses
  • Complex congenital heart disease
  • Skeletal anomalies
  • Placental anomalies

Fetal MRI

MRI is an additional diagnostic tool that may be used to further evaluate certain fetal conditions discovered on ultrasound. MRI is safe in pregnancy because it does not use ionizing (harmful) radiation.

How the Test is Performed

Because the MRI machine uses strong magnetic fields, patients must remove all jewelry and change into a hospital gown for the examination. The examination does not require that an IV be placed. The patient will need to lie on their back or on their left side for 30-45 minutes while the images are being taken. Everyone in the MRI room will wear earplugs to protect from the loud noise the machine makes while obtaining images.

Fetal echocardiography

Fetal echocardiography is an advanced ultrasound conducted by a specialist that uses sound waves to evaluate the baby's heart for problems before birth.

How the Test is Performed

Fetal echocardiography is most often done during the second trimester of pregnancy. This is when a woman is about 18 to 24 weeks pregnant. The procedure is similar to that of a pregnancy ultrasound. You will lie down for the procedure. The test can be performed on your belly (abdominal) or through your vagina (transvaginal ).

  • In an abdominal ultrasound, the person performing the test places a clear, water-based gel on your belly. A hand-held probe is moved over the area. The probe sends out sound waves, which bounce off the baby's heart and create a picture of the heart on a computer screen.
  • In a transvaginal ultrasound, a much smaller probe is placed into the vagina. A transvaginal ultrasound can be done earlier in the pregnancy and produces a clearer image than an abdominal ultrasound.