Doppler Velocimetry

Who Gets the Test?

Doppler velocimetry is a way to make sure that your baby is getting a healthy supply of blood. You may need it if earlier tests showed that your baby could be having problems. Maybe your baby is growing slowly or has anemia. You may also need the test if you have preeclampsia or have a low level of amniotic fluid.

Doppler velocimetry is different from a standard Doppler that checks your baby's heartbeat.

What the Test Does

Doppler velocimetry uses ultrasound to check blood flow in the umbilical cord or between the uterus and the placenta. If the blood supply is restricted, your baby can't get enough nutrients and oxygen.

How the Test Is Done

Doppler velocimetry is painless and safe. It's similar to a standard ultrasound. A technician will gently press an ultrasound probe against the outside of your belly.

What to Know About Test Results

If your doctor finds abnormal results, you may need further testing or closer monitoring. In some cases, your doctor may recommend early delivery to help your baby.

How Often the Test Is Done During Pregnancy

It depends on your situation. You may need regular Doppler velocimetry -- along with other tests -- to check on how your baby is doing. Or you may not need it at all. Ask your doctor.

Other Names for This Test

Doppler flow study

Tests Similar to This One

Biophysical profile, nonstress test

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on May 11, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

UptoDate: "Doppler ultrasound of the umbilical artery for fetal surveillance."

Johns Hopkins Manual of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 4th Edition. Lippincott Williams & Williams, 2010.

ACOG: "Special Tests for Monitoring Fetal Health."

ACOG: "Ultrasound Exams."

UptoDate: "Diagnosis of Fetal Growth Restriction."

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