Fetal MRI: Pros and Cons

A Fetal MRI scan is the process of scanning the fetus movements using the fast sequential method. Each sequence produces image slices of the area of interest. It is a non-invasive type testing that provides detailed information. Comparatively, the images have higher resolution than ultrasound. It employs a magnetic field to take snapshots for later evaluation.

How it works

The process begins with the creation of magnetic field within the large tube-shaped machine. Patient has to lie down on the exam table as the pulses of radio waves are sent from the scanner. These waves move the nuclei of atoms from their normal position. And as the nuclei settle into its original position, it emits a radio signal.

The attached computer receives the signals, converting them into images of the baby. A radiologist examines the image and prepares a report for your gynecologist.

The motive for this imaging is to identify the presence of any abnormalities in baby’s spine, brain, or body. Used mainly in complex scenarios, fetal MRIadds to previously obtained diagnostic information. The additional information aids to evaluate abnormalities by figuring out the rectification process.

Like many other techniques, this method of scanning also comes with few cons. However, there is also a group of physicians who redeem it completely safe and non-invasive.

Let’s have a look at pros and cons linked with the procedure:


Detailed Assessment

The T2 imaging is a standard sequence of the process. T1-weighted imaging sequence is employed to display the fat, hemorrhage, and calcification. The imaging uses balanced steady-state free-precession (SSFP) that allows peeking into fetal structures of heart and vessels.

As for the brain, MRI evaluation aids to recognize the multilayered appearance of the cerebral parenchyma. It also helps to detect fetal cerebral maturation and modifications in ventricular size. The fetal organs such as kidneys and lungs can also reveal changes in volume and T2 signals.

Nonintravenous method

Fetal MRI scanning does not make use of intravenous contrast materials, sedation or medication before the exam. It is not painful and rendered completely safe.

Informed decision-making

When the ultrasound imaging detects an abnormality, MRI can be used to confirm the diagnosis. Supplying with detailed information, this can assist to find severity of the problem. Eventually, the parents and physicians can make the correct decision. Hence, it facilitates informeddecisions.

Guided therapy

Fetal MRI scan allows the expectant parents to have a better insight. Providing a detailed phenotype of the fetus, it enables the clinicians to counsel patients on prognosis and options available.

Physicians explain a spectrum of possible circumstances which parents might have to face during the remaining pregnancy. The guided counseling equips them with information of what they might have to go through post-birth. Special treatment for the baby is then specified.

As it executes the function with radio and magnetic waves, this process is acclaimed to be safe. Unlike CT scans and X-rays, this does not make use of ionizing radiation. Neither is it considered painful.


Cannot be performed in the first trimester

The Fetal  can’t take place during the initial stages of pregnancy. Since the size of the fetus is very small during this period, authorities do not advise it in the first trimester.

Another reason for its avoidance is the presence of high noise-to-signal ratio from such imaging. The small structure of the baby limits its benefits. Thereby, precaution is advised during the first trimester of the pregnancy.

High pricing

Depending upon its category, the price for fetal MRI scan can vary somewhere between 400 to 3500 Dollars. It can also be the possibility that same procedure would cost you differently at another facility.

The reason for such high pricing is the fact that the equipment costs are high. Each facility buys it for around 1 million dollars. To cover up the expense and maintenance, they have to charge high. Nonetheless, there are substantial discounts for the insurance carriers and individuals because of their payment forms.

The fact that it is too expensive prevents some people to opt for it. There are options like Charity Care Qualifications, Tax Credits,and Employees Group Benefits Program that can help to reduce the cost of MRI.


MRI serves to be the diagnostic tool of choice for many physicians. On a general note, MRI can predict an abnormality way earlier than ultrasound. It lowers the diagnostic work performed through other imaging techniques.

Even for the adults, the MRI scan has been found to be quite progressive than other procedures. It aids to determine to malfunction in people likely to experience mixed dementia. Advancing on the causes beforehand, this allows preventing later surgeries and procedures.

MRI imaging technique assists in formulating a prognosis in prenatal times.It can detect abnormalities in upto 50% of the cases that have a prior diagnosis.

No study so far reveals negative aspects of this technique. It is by far, a most advanced, non-invasive and beneficial technique for detecting abnormalities. Expectant parents are prepared and given a course of action, enabling them to nurture their child with proper care.

The detail MR imaging is accompanied by few limitations. However, it would be a false claim to say that it comes with risks and damages to the fetus only. The benefits outweigh its negative aspects. Indeed, the future holds much progression in this technique.

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