COVID-19: A support guide for families following a fetal diagnosis of heart disease

If your baby has been diagnosed with a heart defect before birth, the Fetal Heart Program at Cincinnati Children’s can help give your baby the best chance for long-term success. Our skilled team including fetal cardiologists provides advanced care for the most complex cases. And our Fetal Heart Program is part of one of the leading heart institutes in the nation.

What Sets Us Apart

  • Outcomes among the best in the nation. The Fetal Heart Program is part of Cincinnati Children’s cardiology and heart surgery programs, ranked among the top in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 – 2021 list of Best Children’s Hospitals.
  • State-of-the-art diagnosis and evaluations. Our fetal heart specialists perform over 2,400 fetal echocardiogram evaluations each year, on average, and our pediatric heart surgeons perform around 600 cardiothoracic surgeries. More than half of these are on babies less than a year old.
  • Comprehensive care. We offer advanced care before, during and after pregnancy, from diagnosis through delivery planning. This includes preparing, educating and supporting expectant families.
  • Team approach to care. Our fetal heart specialists work together with parents, referring providers and a multidisciplinary team of some of the top experts to develop a customized care plan for each family.
  • Expert heart surgery care after birth. Your child is also in good hands after birth, with some of the world’s most renowned pediatric heart surgeons on our team.
  • Special Delivery Unit. This special unit is available through the Cincinnati Children’s Fetal Care Center in certain circumstances for healthy expecting moms whose babies face complex conditions. It allows our heart specialists to provide prompt, high-level care when the baby is born, while keeping mom and baby close together.
  • Focus on Mental Wellbeing. We offer support from psychologists and social workers to women and their partners from the time of fetal heart diagnosis, throughout pregnancy and after birth.
  • Services for out-of-town families. The Fetal Heart Program treats families from around the world and has concierge services in place for families who come from out of town.

Learning of Your Baby’s Diagnosis

When you first find out your unborn baby has a heart condition, it can be overwhelming. We know how stressful it is to wonder if your child will be OK, and where you can find the best care.

At Cincinnati Children’s, our fetal heart specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for all fetal heart diagnoses, including:

  • Structural heart disease. These are problems related to the structures of the heart, such as the valves or tissues. This includes conditions such as a hole between the heart chambers (ventricular septal defect) or an underdeveloped pumping chamber (hypoplastic left heart or hypoplastic right heart).
  • Functional heart disease. This includes problems that relate to how the heart works, such as irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) and heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy).

When you come to our Fetal Heart Program, we’ll help educate you about your baby’s heart condition, and provide support as you look for the best treatment options. Learn more about what to expect from your care here.

Second Opinions Available

The Fetal Heart Program regularly provides second opinions that can reassure you about the care you are receiving elsewhere, or offer insights about other treatment options available at Cincinnati Children’s.

In Partnership With the Cincinnati Children’s Fetal Care Center

The Cincinnati Children’s Fetal Care Center is the only comprehensive center in the Midwest for fetal evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. Located in our main campus hospital, it is a collaboration among Cincinnati Children’s, TriHealth and the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The center is one of a very few in the world affiliated with a top children’s hospital, two Level III maternity hospitals, and two Level III and one Level IV newborn intensive care units.

Our partnership with this center means we can share important information about the unique challenges and opportunities that face each patient and unborn baby. We refer patients to the Cincinnati Children’s Fetal Care Center when further specialty care may be needed.