At the Children's Heart Center, pregnant mothers at risk of bearing a child with congenital heart disease are evaluated by a pediatric cardiologist with extensive experience in the diagnosis and management of fetal heart disease. An onsite Pediatric Echocardiography Lab enables the unborn child to benefit from the most advanced technology currently available. Other problems, such as abnormal heart rhythms or heart failure, may be evaluated and treated. Once identified the mother and fetus are treated as a single patient and may be followed for the rest of the pregnancy by the Fetal Cardiology Team if needed. The team includes the pediatric cardiologist, advanced practice nurse and social worker. The pregnancy is discussed in detail with perinatology, neonatology and, if necessary, pediatric cardiothoracic surgery. Delivery is planned in conjunction with these groups.
Pregnant mothers are most often referred to the Fetal Cardiology Program by their obstetricians when:
- They are considered to be at risk of having a child with a congenital heart disease
- If there is a specific concern about the fetus based on a screening obstetric ultrasound.
An appointment can then be made by calling our fetal echocardiography office at 275-0962. The mother will be asked some specific questions about the pregnancy and information about her obstetrician and pediatrician. Once at the visit, the test is performed in a quiet room where there is plenty of space for the father and other family members to attend, if desired. After completion, the results are reviewed and diagrams are provided. There is ample opportunity for questions at that time and counseling is given as needed. Results are sent to both the mother's obstetrician and the child's pediatrician. The total visit can be expected to take between 45 minutes and 1½ hrs.
Learn more about Fetal Echocardiography.