Prenatal and Fetal Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)



If an abnormality on ultrasound is not clearly defined, a doctor may require a prenatal Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI). An MRI can provide enhanced images of the fetal brain, chest and abdomen that cannot be gathered from ultrasound alone. This test can help the doctor effectively prescribe a therapy or delivery plan, as well as advise the family about prognosis of the baby.

Expanded Overview

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, uses radiofrequency to create two- and three-dimensional images. Fetal MRI is especially useful to help doctors see tissues and organs in the developing fetus.

At Children’s Health, our MRI scanners are certified by the American College of Radiology for image quality and are designed to get the highest quality images in the shortest amount of time and. Our technologists are skilled in working with pregnant women to provide a calm and comfortable  experience.

What to Expect

The MRI machine looks like a small tunnel. The exam table moves through the opening of the tunnel. The scan is quite loud, so you will be given ear plugs to help block out some of the noise.

The technologist will help position you on your back on the MRI table. Once you are comfortable on the table, a red light will come on to help align your body to the correct position for the scan. You will then be moved into the tunnel of the MRI scanner.

After the technologist leaves the scanning room, the MRI will begin. The scan can take from 30 minutes to one hour, depending if your baby happens to be very active during the scan.


Is the fetal MRI safe for me and the baby?

Yes, the fetal MRI is a safe diagnostic procedure. The MRI uses radiofrequency to take pictures of the baby. There is no exposure to radiation during the MRI.

How long will the test take?

On average, a fetal MRI takes between 30-45 minutes to perform. Occasionally the test lasts a little longer if your baby happens to be very active during the scan.


The Society for Pediatric Radiology

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