Jefferson University Hospitals

Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring

During your pregnancy, you will periodically undergo ultrasound testing to ensure your unborn child is developing normally and that the heart is strong.

What Does a Fetal Echocardiogram Involve?

A fetal echocardiogram is a specialized ultrasound to evaluate the position, size, function and rhythm of your unborn baby's heart. Sound waves reflect or "echo" off of the different moving structures of the heart to give a real-time image that you will see and hear on the TV monitor.

A fetal echo may be performed when:

  • A previous child was born with a congenital cardiac defect
  • Mom or dad has congenital heart disease
  • Mom has diabetes or lupus
  • The baby has an abnormal heartbeat pattern
  • The baby may have another anomaly
  • The baby may have a chromosomal abnormality
  • The fetal heart looks abnormal on a routine ultrasound study
  • Slow or confined growth of the baby

At Jefferson, the fetal echo exam is performed at the Maternal-Fetal Health Center in association with pediatric cardiologists from Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. The exam takes about 45 minutes, and you will be informed of what is happening every step along the way.

Why Choose Jefferson for Your Pregnancy in Philadelphia?

We have more than 30 years experience with fetal echocardiography and have taught our techniques around the world. Our international fetal cardiovascular research group continues to put forth new information on fetal heart physiology.