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Mended Little HeartGuide

Introduction Contents SECTION During Pregnancy Congratulations on your pregnancy! This should be an exciting time of anticipation and preparation, but we know how easily fear can override your excitement after your baby has been diagnosed with CHD. Many families describe the prenatal diagnosis as both a blessing and a curse. They miss out on some of the excitement and joy of a typical pregnancy, but have the time to better prepare themselves and family members to welcome a baby with a special heart. We hope that the following tips help you continue to enjoy your pregnancy while preparing to meet your son or daughter: Fetal Cardiology Appointments In most instances, expectant mothers will continue to see a fetal or pediatric cardiologist for monitoring throughout their pregnancy after their baby has been diagnosed with CHD. The frequency of cardiology visits depends on the baby’s diagnosis, gestational age, other medical issues and the mother’s health. These visits typically include a fetal echo, which is an ultrasound that looks specifically at the heart. (Learn more about fetal echos in the Common Prenatal Tests section of this Mended Little HeartGuide.) OB/GYN Appointments It is important for mothers to continue to attend regular OB/GYN appointments throughout their pregnancy. The responsibility of the OB/GYN is to monitor maternal health during pregnancy. In some instances, the OB/GYN will work with a maternal fetal medicine specialist or perinatologist who monitors fetal growth and wellness. In other cases, the maternal fetal specialist may recommend an amniocentesis or other tests to assess the baby’s chromosomes before delivery. (Read more about amniocentesis in the About My Child’s Heart Table of Common Prenatal Tests section of this Mended Little HeartGuide.) As mothers head toward the end of their pregnancy, the OB/GYN or maternal fetal specialist may suggest specialized monitoring called a non-stress test or monitoring that includes ultrasound and heart rate monitoring. In most cases, this is a precautionary measure to assure that the baby is doing well in the womb. (Learn more about the non-stress test in the Common Prenatal Tests section of this Mended Little HeartGuide.) Questions About Delivery There are many questions you can ask to prepare for your baby’s birth. It is a good idea to prepare these ahead of time. (Use the Questions and Answers Form in this Mended Little HeartGuide.) It may also be helpful to bring a trusted friend or family member to take notes. Parents and caregivers may be so caught up in the emotions of the delivery, that they miss key information. Your baby’s fetal cardiologist and your OB/ GYN team may have to work together to answer your questions. Here are some questions to consider: • Where will I deliver my baby? In some cases, you will be able to deliver in the hospital you would normally use. Be sure to deliver in a location that is equipped to deal with emergency situations, in case one should arise. Some parents may need to change their delivery hospital to ensure that their baby receives the specialized care that newborns with CHD may require, including a heart surgery or cardiac catheterization procedure. In some cases, your baby may require transport to a specialized hospital. If he or she will need surgery in another city or state after birth, know how your son or daughter will be transported. Go To 40


Mended Little HeartGuide
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