First Trimester Fetal Echo Specialist

High Risk Pregnancy Doctors

Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist & Board Certified OB/GYN located in Frisco, TX

First-trimester fetal echo is an advanced form of diagnostic ultrasound technology that can detect congenital heart problems. It’s an invaluable screening tool to look for potential problems in the developing heart and requires highly innovative and specialized equipment, training, and interpretation skills. At High Risk Pregnancy Doctors in Frisco, Texas, the team uses the latest technology, providing the highest levels of definition and clarity, exceptional detail, and ensuring ultimate diagnostic confidence. Call the office today to find out how a first-trimester fetal echo can benefit your pregnancy, or book a consultation online.

First Trimester Fetal Echo Q & A


What is a first-trimester fetal echo?

Echo is short for echocardiography, which is a specialized form of ultrasound used to examine the developing fetal heart. A first-trimester fetal echo is a screening tool that can identify major congenital heart defects at the earliest stage of your pregnancy.

One in eight women could potentially carry a baby who has a major congenital heart defect. Some babies born with such a condition require urgent interventions during the first few hours after birth, and more than 50% require major surgery during their first year of life.

When you’re a patient at High Risk Pregnancy Doctors, a specialized team carries out a first-trimester fetal echo 12-13 weeks gestational age of your pregnancy to detect heart abnormalities in your baby. The earlier your doctor knows about any potential problems, the better they’re able to manage a condition and prepare for any necessary intervention.

What does a first-trimester fetal echo involve?

There are two ways of having a first-trimester fetal echo. A transabdominal first-trimester fetal echo is much the same as a regular ultrasound and is the method used most often. An alternative is a transvaginal first-trimester fetal echo.

Transabdominal first-trimester fetal echo provides a lot of information and allows your doctors to identify most of your baby’s anatomical cardiac structures.

Your baby’s heart develops at a very early stage of your pregnancy, on day 21, and forms completely by the 9th week of gestation. Past 11-12 weeks, it’s possible to see the cardiac axis, outflow tracts, three vessel trachea view, and four chamber view. 

Why would I need a first-trimester fetal echo?

A first-trimester fetal echo is advisable if you have any risk factors that increase your chances of having a baby with heart problems in the future. Risk factors could include already having a child with a congenital heart defect, or having a congenital heart defect yourself.

High Risk Pregnancy Doctors carries out a first-trimester fetal echo on all their patients to check for congenital heart defects and other suspected abnormalities. 

Conventional ultrasound is a useful tool, but its performance doesn’t reach the new levels of definition and clarity possible with the latest available technology and diagnostic capability. High Risk Pregnancy Doctors has invested in Philips latest echocardiogram technology, which allows for fine evaluation, and provides exceptional detail as early as 11-13 weeks of gestation.

To find out more about first-trimester fetal echos, call High Risk Pregnancy Doctors today or book an appointment online.