As you first learn about your baby’s diagnosis, our fetal heart specialists will talk to you about what to expect throughout the rest of the pregnancy. We’ll do a fetal echocardiogram and discuss treatments available, which could include options before or after birth, or both. And we’ll let you know what this condition could mean for your family long-term.

When a baby is diagnosed with a congenital heart defect before birth, the pregnancy will be treated as high-risk. Many of these babies need treatment immediately after birth. We work with expecting moms and dads on delivery planning, so you can be assured the necessary doctors will be present during and after delivery.

Under some circumstances, mothers can deliver in the Special Delivery Unit that is part of the Cincinnati Children’s Fetal Center. This allows us to quickly transfer the baby to the Cincinnati Children’s cardiac intensive care unit after birth.

In addition, your baby will benefit from the surgical expertise of our Cincinnati Children’s heart surgeons, who specialize in the complete correction of heart defects in newborns and surgical management of complex single ventricle cardiac defects. Nearly 25 percent of our cardiac surgery patients are less than a month old, and about 60 percent are under one year of age. We perform about 600 cardiac operations a year, with at least 350 of those being open-heart surgeries.

We also place high importance on caring for your mental wellbeing. You will have access to our psychologists and social workers who offer comprehensive, family-centered psychosocial care for women and their partners. This specialized service is available from the time of fetal heart diagnosis, throughout pregnancy and after your baby’s birth.

Specially Trained Experts

We manage fetal heart conditions with a team approach. Our fetal heart specialists work with parents and referring providers throughout your care here. Together we develop customized care plans for each patient.

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 specialists:

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

In addition, we are able to collaborate with other specialists as needed throughout Cincinnati Children’s extensive network of experts.