Fetal Heart Patient Information

Fetal Heart Program's patients are cared for through the Division of Maternal and Fetal Medicine and Pediatric Cardiology. Through this innovative program, the unborn child is cared for as a separate and individual patient. Comprehensive care begins in the womb and is coordinated in partnership with referring maternal fetal medicine specialists and obstetricians with many subspecialties, including cardiology, cardiac surgery and genetics.

The goal is to understand how heart defects affect fetal well-being in utero and determine when and if intervention is needed. Once a diagnosis is made, parents are counseled so that they are prepared for what to expect for the duration of the pregnancy and after delivery. This unique program maximizes planning time and allows for early treatment of a variety of heart abnormalities – often within moments of delivery. Learn more about what to expect at your fetal heart evaluation visit.

Common Reasons for Fetal Heart Evaluations

There are many reasons why your primary obstetrician or maternal-fetal medicine specialist may want you to get an evaluation of your baby's heart. Some of the common reasons include:

  • If a sibling or parent was born with a heart defect.
  • A family history of multiple individuals born with a heart defect, such as parents, aunts or uncles, or grandparents.
  • A chromosomal or genetic abnormality discovered in the fetus.
  • If a mother has taken certain medications that may cause heart defects during pregnancy, such as anti-seizure medications or prescription acne medications.
  • If the mother has abused alcohol or drugs during pregnancy.
  • If a mother has diabetes, phenylketonuria, or a connective tissue disease, such as lupus.
  • If the mother has had rubella or certain other viruses during pregnancy.
  • A routine prenatal ultrasound has discovered possible heart abnormalities.
  • A routine prenatal ultrasound has identified problems with any other parts of the baby.

View our patient education handbooks and resources for patients and families for more information.

Schedule an Appointment

For information regarding appointment bookings, please contact the Center for Advanced Fetal Care at 410-328-3865.