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Mended Little HeartGuide

Diagnosis 3 In The The fetal echo can be a long test — lasting up to two hours — so make sure you’ve had something to eat and arranged to have someone care for any other children you have. You don’t need to do anything to prepare for a fetal echo, but bring your medical records with you. Sometimes, you’ll have an appointment to get the results right after the test has finished. Other times, it will take a few days or a week to get results. If you can, bring someone with you who can take notes. Don’t forget to ask any questions you can think of. If you think of a question after the appointment, call back and ask to make sure you have the information you need. It’s important to note that not all heart defects and/or heart disease will be diagnosed during a fetal echo, so the diagnosis may change after your baby is born as his or her blood flow changes. After CHD is diagnosed, your baby’s cardiologist will likely want to perform more than one fetal echo during your pregnancy so that they can prepare for your baby’s birth. You may feel like you are getting new information at every appointment, but that is probably just because it is hard to take everything in at the first visit. List your questions before each appointment. (Use the Questions and Answers form in this Guide.) Non-Stress Test A fetal non-stress test is a test done by the obstetrician that monitors a baby’s heart rate and allows doctors to see whether your baby’s heart rate pattern is normal and varying with movements. This information helps the doctor determine whether there are any problems that need to be addressed. This test is usually done once or twice a week after 26 weeks of pregnancy. It is non-invasive and there are no risks. You don’t need to do anything to prepare for this test, but if you eat a little something or drink some juice right before it, your baby may be more active, which can help the doctor get better information. If your baby is asleep, you may have to schedule another non-stress test sooner than planned. The non-stress test is usually done at your obstetrician or maternal fetal medicine specialist’s office. You will be on a reclining chair or bed and belts/bands will be placed across your belly. These have monitors attached that record information. You may be asked to press a button when your baby moves. It takes around 20 minutes but may take longer if your baby isn’t moving much. You might hear your baby’s heart rate and it may speed up and slow down several times during the test. Usually, you will not need additional tests or monitoring at that time unless the results cause concern. Amniocentesis Amniocentesis is a test used to check for chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome. It is also sometimes done to determine whether a baby’s lungs are developed enough to be born. During amniocentesis, a small amount of amniotic fluid (the water-like fluid that surrounds your baby before he or she is born) is removed with a thin, hollow needle. The spot on your belly where the needle is inserted will be cleaned before the procedure, and you may get a local anesthetic to relieve discomfort. An ultrasound will be performed at the same time so that the doctor can see where to place the needle in the uterus without getting too close to your baby. The amniotic fluid is then sent to a lab for testing. Your doctor will tell you when to expect the results. You may have some cramping during the amniocentesis and for a few hours afterward. You should rest for the remainder of the day after the procedure. Your doctor will tell you if you can take any medication for discomfort. Have your spouse, a relative or a close friend drive you to and from your appointment. This test can be stressful, and you’ll want someone there to support you. There are some risks with amniocentesis, but complications are rare. The risk of miscarriage is less than 1 percent, but be sure to ask your obstetrician about risks and complications. 1 General Information 2 Prenatal Hospital 4 Living With CHD 5 Forms 45


Mended Little HeartGuide
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