To determine acceptance of pregnant women to undergo fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination in research and clinical setting. A prospective study included a research group [part of a study comparing brain ultrasound (US) to MRI in fetuses at risk for acquired brain damage] and a clinical group [fetuses with suspected (brain) anomalies after structural US examination] from 2011 to 2014. All women were advised to use sedatives. MRI declinations, use of sedation, MRI duration and imaging quality were compared between both groups. Study participation was accepted in 57/104 (55%) research cases. Fetal MRI was performed in 34/104 (33%) research and 43/44 (98%) clinical cases. Reasons to decline study participation were MRI related in 41%, and participation was too burdensome in 46%. Acceptance was highest for indication infection and lowest in alloimmune thrombocytopenia and monochorionic twin pregnancy. Sedatives were used in 14/34 research and 43/43 clinical cases. Scan duration and quality were comparable (21 and 20 min in research and clinical cases, respectively, moderate/good quality in both groups). Pregnant women consider MRI more burdensome than professionals realize. Two-third of women at risk for fetal brain damage decline MRI examination. Future studies should evaluate which information about fetal MRI is supportive.