For Expectant Parents of a Baby With a Heart Defect

In the United States, nearly one of every 100 babies is born with a congenital heart disorder, according to the Children’s Heart Foundation.

With modern ultrasound technology and fetal cardiac expertise, we can now identify many heart defects before a child is born. Obstetricians can refer their pregnant patients to a pediatric cardiologist for a special ultrasound — called a fetal echocardiogram — to check the baby’s heart.

Pediatric cardiologists have special training in performing echocardiograms to diagnose congenital heart disease as early as 18 weeks’ gestation.

During Your First Visit to the Fetal Cardiology Program

A pediatric cardiologist or specially trained pediatric sonographer will perform a fetal echocardiogram to examine your baby’s heart.

After the echo, you will meet with a pediatric cardiologist to discuss the results.

What if My Baby Has a Congenital Heart Defect?

If we find a heart condition after the fetal echo, the pediatric cardiologist will work closely with your obstetrician to create a plan for more testing and delivery.

We'll stay in close contact with you and your obstetric team until your baby arrives.

The Fetal Cardiology Program at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC provides a host of support services for parents facing the diagnosis of congenital heart disease in their child.

We may also refer you to the Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital for the following services:

  • Consultation with a specialist from the maternal/fetal cardiology team.
  • Genetic counseling.
  • A consult with a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon to discuss surgical options.
  • Social work.
  • A tour of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

To request an appointment or consult at the Fetal Cardiology Program, call 412-692-5540.