Purpose: There are conflicting data about the effects of fetal echocardiography (fECHO) on the psychiatric symptoms of the mother and cardiac evaluation of the fetus.
Methods: This study included 119 pregnant women who evaluated using fECHO as the study group and 65 healthy pregnant women who evaluated using ultrasonography for routine screening as the control group. All participants filled out State and Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) before assessment.
Results: Mitral flow velocity, Tricuspid flow velocity, Aorta flow velocity (AFV), Pulmonary artery flow velocity, Fetal heart rate (FHR) was evaluated by fECHO. STAI-S, STAI-T and PSS scores of women who evaluated by using fECHO were higher than the control group. In fECHO group, AFV values of pregnant women with high STAI-S scores were higher than those with low STAI-S scores. FHR was higher in pregnant women with low STAI-T scores compared to pregnant women with high STAI-T scores. Correlation analyses showed that STAI-S scores and AFV values and number of pregnancies were positively correlated. FHR was found to be negatively correlated with STAI-S, STAI-T and PSS scores.
Conclusion: fECHO can cause anxiety and stress in pregnant women and may have negative effects on fetal cardiac evaluation.