Fetal Heart Program
What to Expect

What to Expect at Your First Appointment at the Fetal Heart Program

Through the Fetal Heart Program at Cincinnati Children’s, your baby will benefit from the surgical experience of our surgeons, who specialize in treating heart defects in newborns. You can rely on our expertise: we perform about 600 cardiac operations a year, with 60% of those surgeries performed on children under 12 months old.

The Fetal Heart Program offers you access to some of the nation’s top experts. Depending on your baby’s diagnosis and needs, you may meet with any of the following fetal heart specialists:

  • Cardiologists
  • Cardiac surgeons
  • Neonatologists
  • Genetic counselors
  • Maternal-fetal medicine specialists
  • Social workers
  • Psychologists

We use a team approach to create a personalized care plan for your child, specific to their condition and their needs.

We also provide family-centered care designed to support you. Our psychologists, social workers and child life specialists offer comprehensive mental health care for new mothers and their partners. You can receive this support through our Heart and Mind Wellbeing Center from the time your child is diagnosed, throughout your pregnancy and after your child is born.

Learn more about what to expect when your child receives care from the Fetal Heart Program.

Making an Appointment at the Fetal Heart Program

Most of our families are referred to us after an ultrasound at their OB/GYN’s office. Your OB/GYN will send us ultrasound images of your child’s heart so we can begin to evaluate their health.

After we receive your referral, we’ll reach out to you to schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

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

Preparing for Your Visit

For your visit, please bring your ID and insurance information. We also ask that you bring along a list of any questions you have so we can provide the answers you need.

On the Day of Your Visit at the Fetal Heart Program

Before Your Appointment

We ask that you arrive in the clinic 15 minutes before your appointment. Our center is part of the Burnet Campus, which is a large facility. Please leave enough time to park and walk to our offices.

Please contact us if you are running late for your appointment.

At Your Appointment

At your child’s first appointment, we’ll do a fetal echocardiogram to look closely at your child’s heart and make an accurate diagnosis. Your care team will discuss treatments available for your child, which could include treatments before or after birth, or both.

You’ll also see a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist. These specially trained physicians care for high-risk pregnancies and strive to keep you and your baby healthy throughout pregnancy. Your MFM specialist will talk to you about what to expect the rest of your pregnancy and help you begin to plan your delivery.

Your child’s cardiologist also will talk to you about what your child’s condition may mean for their future. This includes treatment they may need as they grow. At Cincinnati Children’s, we provide lifelong care for children with heart defects, from before birth into adulthood.

After Your Visit at the Fetal Heart Program

After your visit, we will send you home with a plan for your pregnancy and your child’s care. This plan will include information on your next appointments. If you have any questions or concerns between visits, please contact us.