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Fetal MRI Scans: FAQs & What to Expect


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If your consultant has referred you for a fetal MRI scan you will most likely be feeling a little anxious, both about the reason the scan was requested and the MRI scan itself.

Consultants request fetal MRI’s when they want to get a more detailed and accurate look at your developing baby, especially if a problem has been identified on a previous ultrasound scan. MRI can detect issues relating to the brain, spine, lungs and many other parts of the body and is highly accurate, much more so than ultrasound.

Are there any risks to my baby?

One of the first concerns an expecting mother has when faced with an MRI scan during pregnancy is whether the MRI will hurt the baby, which is completely understandable. MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce the pictures and does not expose your baby to radiation. There is no evidence to suggest MRI poses any risk to you or your baby so rest assured, it’s a completely safe procedure for you both.

Should I be worried about the scan?

The MRI scan itself can also be a little daunting, especially if you’ve never had one before. A lot of people worry about going into the scanner and how much space there is once inside. Our modern scanners offer a very comfortable experience and there is more space than you might imagine. You will also be able to hear and speak to your radiographer through a headset which helps a great deal. If for whatever reason you did feel the need to stop, you can tell the radiographer and they could get you out very quickly.

How to prepare for your scan

To capture clear images of your baby, they need to be as calm as possible so you might be asked to avoid sugary food or drink 2-3 hours before the scan. Caffeinated drinks should also be avoided. In some cases, you may be asked to avoid food altogether prior to the scan and unlike your ultrasound scans, you do not need a full bladder for your MRI.

It’s usually best to leave any jewellery at home as anything magnetic will need to be removed before you enter the scanning room. If you do come to your appointment wearing jewellery, don’t worry, we have secure lockers in our changing rooms.

What happens during the scan?

You’ll be asked to lie down on the patient table and get into a comfortable position. You may be asked to move around a little whilst the radiographer gets you into the position needed to get the required images. Tell the radiographer if you’re not comfortable or don’t think you can stay still for the time you’ll be in the scanner.

Once comfortable, you’ll slowly be moved into the scanner. If you like, music will be played through the headset and offers the perfect distraction as the scan begins. This will be interrupted occasionally as the radiographer asks how you are feeling and checks you’re ok.

The scan will then begin and you will hear some noise which is perfectly normal. Our modern scanners are much less noisy than older scanners but there is still some noise you will hear. The scan will take approximately 30 minutes and once it’s over, your radiographer will let you know and slowly bring you out of the machine.

At Chenies Mews Imaging Centre we have radiographers that specialise in fetal imaging so your results will be explained to you immediately, there’s no waiting.

We have flexible appointments available for both insured and self-funded patients, get in touch to book.

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