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Fetal Medicine Institute
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About Your Visit
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About Your Fetal Medicine Visit

Your physician may refer you for one or several visits with our different specialists. During your time with our team, we make sure everything is smoothly coordinated and that you remain comfortable and at ease. In addition to referrals for Genetic Counseling and Specialty Consultations, including Urology Consultations at one of Children’s Regional Outpatient Centers, your doctor may request one or more evaluations that likely fall into one of the following categories:
  • MRI, Ultrasound and Specialty Consultations
  • MRI, Ultrasound, Echocardiography and Specialty Consultations
  • Ultrasound and Specialty Consultations
  • Ultrasound, Echocardiography and Specialty Consultations

About the Tests

Fetal Ultrasound
A fetal ultrasound is a common, noninvasive procedure to obtain an image of the fetus. Ultrasounds are useful for doctors to monitor how a baby is developing in the womb throughout the pregnancy. Fetal Imaging Specialists with Children’s Division of Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology perform all fetal ultrasound exams, taking steps to make you as comfortable as possible during the procedure. An ultrasound usually takes about an hour for a single pregnancy.

Fetal Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Our experts in Radiology may also perform a fetal MRI, which provides your doctor with a clearer, more detailed picture of what is happening inside with your baby. A fetal MRI is safe for a mother and the fetus, and does not involve radiation. A fetal MRI will take approximately one hour and is usually followed by a fetal ultrasound exam.

Fetal Echocardiography
In addition to MRI and ultrasound tests described above, your doctor may request a fetal echocardiogram to evaluate the baby’s heart. A specialized fetal medicine team with the Children’s Heart Institute performs the fetal echocardiogram, and you also meet with one of our world-renowned pediatric Cardiologists.

All fetal MRIs and fetal ultrasounds are read and interpreted by Children’s radiologists, who are specialists in both pediatric and fetal diagnostics.

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Preparing for Your Visit

We try our best to create a schedule with time for you to rest, use the restroom, and eat, so you may return home as soon as possible.

To help the visit go smoothly:
  • Bring your insurance card and a photo id. If you do not have insurance, we will coordinate a visit with the Children’s National financial information center
  • Bring water and snacks
  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Wear shoes that are easy to change in and out of, especially if you are having an MRI, ultrasound or echocardiography exam
  • Bring all of the necessary forms
    • Registration
    • MRI Clearance

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During Your Visit

Most tests or procedures occur first thing in the morning. You may need to arrive as early as 6:00am to check in with Radiology. This early hour allows our Fetal Imaging team to care for you as soon as you get to the hospital.

Once you are done with your radiology exams and when necessary, an echocardiography with the Heart Institute, you'll be escorted to the Fetal Medicine Clinic at Children’s National. Here, you will meet with the appropriate specialists in a private family consultation room. They will explain the outcomes of your imaging exams and answer any questions.

Before you leave for the day, you also meet with a Genetic Counselor or Nurse Practitioner who can help with any remaining questions you may have, and help you arrange any follow up appointments.

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Genetic Counseling

If you are referred for Genetic Counseling only, you'll come directly to the Fetal Medicine Clinic for an appointment with one of our Genetic Counselors.

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Regional Outpatient Centers

Sometimes your obstetrician may refer you to Outpatient Urology for a consultation with a Children’s National Urologist. In many of these cases, you will not require repeat ultrasound imaging, and may simply bring along your latest Ultrasound to your appointment. These appointments can be scheduled at Children’s National Medical Center or any of Children’s Outpatient Centers.

These visits are doctor-only visits, but if you have additional questions, or require additional service, the Fetal and Transitional Medicine team is available to assist. We will also coordinate additional appointments you need to schedule.

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Directions and Parking

Please note that Children’s National Medical Center has a large campus, so arrive at least 20 minutes before your appointments to find parking, check-in at the main visitor reception desk and get a badge, and walk to your first appointment of the day. Get directions.

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