Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is now the imaging method of choice to provide detailed anatomical information about the fetal and neonatal brain, complimenting the role of ultrasound.

Are there any side effects of taking part?

MRI is safe for both you and your baby and has no known side effects associated with it.

The MR scanner makes a knocking noise during the scan, but there are no known hazards with the technique. It does not involve the use of either X-rays or radiation. MRI uses magnets so care is necessary to keep metallic objects away from the magnet. Metallic objects may move towards the magnet, which can cause injury. Fixed metallic objects such as clothes’ poppers or fastenings and earrings, may heat up during the scan and so are always removed prior to scanning.

What are the side effects of taking part?

The examination is not believed to have any side effects for you or your baby. The machine is enclosed and people who cannot travel in a lift because of claustrophobia may find it does not suit them. However, your head will be level with the opening of the scanner. Occasionally we find that the magnet is not wide enough to accommodate women who are larger e.g. twin pregnancy or women who are nearing term. As the scanner is noisy when acquiring images, we will give you noise cancelling ear buds and headphones to protect your hearing. The headphones will allow the radiographers to communicate with you throughout the scan, and can also be used to listen to some music.

Below are images of our 3T scanner, used in our fetal and neonatal scans. It is based on the 6th Floor, St Thomas’ Hospital, Neonatal Imaging Department.

You may want to watch our short video, explaining the MRI procedure and what you can expect when you come for your scan: see below.

What are the benefits of taking part?

A scan may have been requested by your doctor to help him/her with the management of your pregnancy. The further MR images that we take may be of benefit to you in improving the diagnostic infomation of your baby. Otherwise the benefit is likely to be improving the diagnostic technique for the benefit of others.

As part of the follow up development, you may find information that is produced from the assessments reassuring or it may help plan any treatment or extra therapy that your baby may benefit from.

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