Heart problem identified at 20-week scan?
Everyone knows that the heart is the most vital organ - and it is devastating to be told at your 20 week scan that your baby may have a defect in theirs.
Finding out your baby has CHD (Congenital Heart Disease) - congenital meaning 'present at birth' - is an incredibly difficult experience. So together with our friends at Tiny Tickers, the only UK charity dedicated to making sure babies with CHD are diagnosed as early as possible, we want to tell you what to do if you're told your baby has a heart defect and what you need to watch out for once your baby is born.
First of all, if your baby has a heart defect it's important to understand their diagnosis; access the support you need and know what treatment they are likely to need.
Tiny Tickers have produced a 'New Diagnosis Booklet' that gives you an overview of what to expect and the advice that parents, who have been through something similar, would like to give you. Order yours today for free.
Questions you may want to ask your specialist?
It can be hard to understand your baby's diagnosis, so you may want to ask some of these questions:
- What type of CHD does my baby have?
- What are the treatment options?
- Is my baby likely to have open heart surgery?
- If my baby is likely to have surgery, where and when is this likely to take place?
- How will the rest of my pregnancy be managed now we have a diagnosis?
- What does the diagnosis mean for my baby's birth?
1,000 babies a year leave hospital with an undetected heart condition
Professor Alan Cameron, Professor of Fetal Medicine at Glasgow University and Tiny Tickers Trustee says: “It can be hard to spot and diagnose CHD during pregnancy scans. For babies who remain undiagnosed, it’s essential you know how to spot the symptoms.”
Tiny Tickers’ Think HEART campaign shows 5 signs that your baby could have a heart condition.
Think HEART - 5 signs that may indicate a heart problem in a baby
H = Heart rate
Is your baby's heart rate too fast or too slowly? It should normally be 100-160 beats per minute
E = Energy
Is your baby sleepy, quiet or floppy? Are they too tired to feed, or falling asleep during feeds?
A = Appearance
Is your baby a pale, waxy, dusky, blue, purple, mottled or grey colour?
R = Respiration
Is your baby breathing too fast or too slowly? It should normally be 40-60 breaths per minute
T = Temperature
Is your baby persistently cold to touch – particularly their hands and feet?
If you have any concerns about your baby, take them to see a medical professional and ask them to check your baby's heart.
What if my baby is diagnosed with a heart defect?
Finding out that your baby has a heart condition is an incredibly difficult time, but you’re not alone. Tiny Tickers is the only UK charity dedicated to making sure babies with CHD are diagnosed as early as possible.
Wherever you are on your journey, Tiny Tickers also offers the support and information you need. Whether you are about to have your 20 week pregnancy scan; have a newborn baby; or have already had a diagnosis of CHD - the charity aims to give you key information and signpost you to other organisations who can also help.
This material has been produced thanks to the kind support of AbbVie. AbbVie has had no input into the content or development of this material or the wider Think 20 campaign.