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Fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Fetal MRIAn early diagnosis can often mean a better outcome for a patient. Thanks to our fetal MRI, long before your baby is due, we can diagnose a health issue and help you develop a treatment plan so that your newborn can receive any needed pediatric care as early as possible.

The fetal MRI provides an extra level of detail of the brain, spinal cord, chest, abdomen, gastrointestinal tract and urinary system. Often the MRI is combined with ultrasound to develop the most accurate information and diagnosis possible. These results can then help to answer questions and guide you and the medical team in creating a treatment plan for delivery and post-natal care.

If you are referred to Cook Children’s for a fetal diagnosis, you can rest assured that our diagnostic technology is highly advanced. And you can trust that your results will be read by a team of board-certified pediatric radiologists who are specially trained in pediatric imaging. Your obstetrician or maternal fetal physician will typically make a referral for a fetal MRI based on results from an ultrasound image or series of images where the results suggest more detailed diagnostic images and information are needed.

What to expect

Prior to your MRI you will be asked to limit caffeine and complex carbohydrates in your diet a few hours before the test. The test typically takes 45 minutes to one hour, but may take longer, depending on the complexity of your case. Depending on your comfort level, you will lie either on your back on your left side. Upon completion of the test you will be able to return to your normal diet and activity already prescribed by your physician.

Safety

Like all MRI testing, the fetal MRI does not use ionizing radiation. Because the technology is specially designed for fetal exams, no drugs are administered to the fetus and no intravenous contrast is required for the mother.

If your care provider is recommending a fetal MRI, you may want to discuss with her or him the advantages of a referral to Cook Children's. And should your baby need treatment at birth, and well beyond, you can trust that you have the entire Cook Children's medical team on your side.

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