Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is another imaging method that complements ultrasound and can offer further information about the fetus. This test can provide much detail about the fetus, including the face, brain, lungs, abdomen and pelvis.

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MRI uses magnets to align the water molecules in the body and creates images by detecting energy from the molecules as they go back to their normal position. The MRI scanner consists of a movable bed inside a large circular magnet. MRI is painless and does not require sedation.

Your doctor may recommend an MRI when an abnormality is seen on ultrasound or when genetic testing shows increased risk for an abnormality. A fetal MRI can be considered when it can provide information that is not obtainable by ultrasound and that will affect your care or the care of the fetus.

A fetal MRI can be done in the second and third trimester. This exam is typically not done during the first trimester since the small size of the fetus limits the information that can be gained.

With MRI, there is no radiation to you or the fetus. No adverse effects on the fetus or mother from MRI have been shown, and this test is done at many centers around the country to evaluate the fetus.

The test usually lasts about 30 minutes to an hour, often depending on how active the fetus is.

Being comfortable during the MRI exam will help us to obtain better images more quickly. Dressing in loose-fitting comfortable clothes is helpful. Avoiding coffee and other drinks with caffeine the morning of the exam is also a good idea, since these drinks can make the fetus more active and cause the exam to last longer.

You will need to remove all jewelry or anything containing metal before entering the MRI room due to the strong magnetic fields.. Either earplugs or a headset will be provided since the MRI scanner makes loud noises during the exam. Once inside the room, the technologist will help you lie on the bed, either on your back or on your left side. During the exam, you will have a buzzer that will allow you to talk to the technologist at any time. You are also welcome to bring a significant other, family member, or friend into the room for the exam.

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When you contact The Fetal Center, you will be in touch with a dedicated coordinator who will walk you through the process step-by-step and help you to understand every aspect of your care.

The Fetal Center at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital
UT Professional Building
6410 Fannin, Suite 210
Houston, Texas 77030

Phone: (832) 325-7288
Toll free: (888) 818-4818
Fax: (713) 383-1464

To contact The Fetal Center at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, please fill out the form below.


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If you need more immediate assistance, please call us during business hours at (832) 325-7288.

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Located within the Texas Medical Center, The Fetal Center is affiliated with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.