Do you need a fetal cardiac scan during pregnancy?

Do you need a fetal cardiac scan during pregnancy?

Congenital heart problems are one of the most common fetal anomalies identified during the 18-20 week morphology scan. Overall, fetal heart problems are detected in 1% of pregnancies but certain women are considered at higher risk. This includes:

  • Women with pre-pregnancy diabetes
  • Women with a high nuchal translucency measurement
  • Monochorionic twin pregnancies
  • Families with a history of congenital heart problems
  • Women taking certain anti-epileptic medications, SSRIs or lithium

Fetal Echo

Although your baby’s heart is always examined during the 18-20 week morphology scan, a detailed fetal echocardiogram is best performed at 22-24 weeks, when the heart is bigger and a more detailed ultrasound is possible (

Dr. Colin Walsh is highly experienced at fetal cardiac ultrasound and has performed these scans in hundreds of high-risk women. He and his colleagues in Ireland have recently published a large 5-year study on fetal congenital heart defects ( During this study, they performed fetal echocardiograms in 1,250 high-risk pregnancies and diagnosed 285 babies with cardiac abnormalities.

If you have been recommended to have a fetal cardiac scan or if you have any of the risk factors discussed above, call us on 1300 460 111 or email [javascript protected email address] to make an appointment for a fetal echocardiogram with Dr. Colin Walsh.

Fetal Cardiac Diagram


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  • Mater Hospital
  • North Shore Private Hospital
  • The University Of Sydney
  • Royal College Of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists