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Frequently Asked Questions


On the day of the visit​

How long will my whole appointment take?

You can expect your whole appointment to take up to 4 hours.


The MRI itself would only be about an hour. The rest of the time is allowed for us to perform the necessary safety checks, get you into comfy scrubs, secure your belongings in a locker, do your bloods tests and ultrasound scan. Especially when it comes to showing you the MRI images and video of baby at the end of the scan, we like to give you enough time to take pictures and see your baby. Finally, we appreciate that getting comfortable in the third trimester can be difficult, so factored into this time is opportunity to break during the MRI for repositioning, stretching your legs or using the loo. There is also time for a break between your MRI and ultrasound scan if you want it. Your comfort and experience really matter to us so we try to be efficient without being rushed. 

Can my partner/relative/friend come to the scan?

Your guest can be with you for the consent process before the MRI scan. During the scan itself they will need to wait in a waiting room for approximately 90 minutes. They can come and see the MRI scan images at the end of the MRI with you. They can be there for the entire ultrasound scan.

Will I be able to use my own data from the scan to help me make decisions about my pregnancy/birth?

Unfortunately, no. We are gathering data so that we can create a predictive tool that may help people with these decisions in future, but we do not have the information to say what your MRI findings mean for you yet. If we find any ‘incidental’ findings in the mother or baby, such as issues with the baby's size or position, or appearances of your placenta or another organ within your pelvis such as your kidneys, we will let you and your clinical team know. About 1 in 10 scans will show incidental findings, but the vast majority of these are not serious.

Can I listen to music during the scan?

Certainly, you can listen to all your favourite songs during your scan. If you have a Spotify playlist, just let us know the name of your playlist. Alternatively you can send us the names of your 10 favourite songs prior to your scan and will have these ready for you on the day.

MRI safety

Is an MRI scan safe for me and my baby?

MRI is very safe and pregnant patients have been scanned since the 1980s. Studies have shown that the womb and amniotic fluid provide a safe barrier to sound for your baby.

Will you be using contrast for the MRI?


Is it safe to lie on my back for the MRI scan?

Yes! When you are on your back, the weight of your bump can put pressure on your blood vessels. We monitor for this happening by monitoring your blood pressure and heart rate throughout the scan. If there are any concerns, we will stop the scan. We have had no issues with this in the study to date. We position you comfortably with pillows, and many of our participants have been so comfortable that they fell asleep in the scanner.

Is there anyone who cannot have an MRI?

Most people can have an MRI, however if you have metal in your body we will need to check if it is safe to go ahead. If you have a very high BMI, we may not be able to scan you. 

Taking part

How many participants are you recruiting?

We are looking to perform 500 MRI scans. Some participants can have multiple scans if they wish to.

I am planning a vaginal birth after caesarean birth; can I still participate?



I am planning a caesarean birth; can I still participate?

Unfortunately, if you opt for a planned (elective) caesarean birth, we will not be able to scan you. However, there are other MRI studies conducted at St. Thomas’ Hospital. For more information please email

I want to keep my placenta; can I still be part of the study?

Yes! We understand that people may have uses for their placenta, however if you do not want to keep your placenta, we would love to have a look at it under the microscope.

I have received a text from +44 7700 100103 from the mibirth study asking me to click on a link, is this genuine?

Yes! This is the number all our surveys are sent from.

We invite all our participants to complete a short questionnaire about their birth experience, health and wellbeing and baby’s health. The answers are confidential and will form an important part of the study outcome.

References and further reading

MRI in pregnancy: Indications and practical considerations | Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (2019)

Guidelines for Diagnostic Imaging During Pregnancy and Lactation | ACOG (2019)

The Combined Use of Ultrasound and Fetal Magnetic Resonance Imaging for a Comprehensive Fetal Neurological Assessment in Fetal Congenital Cardiac Defects | BJOG (2019)

Maternal and fetal incidental findings on antenatal magnetic resonance imaging | Pediatr. Radiol. (2021)

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