As any pregnant mom or soon-to-be dad will tell you, the bond between parent and child starts long before the baby is born. And part of that bond means caring for the child’s health, even when he or she is still in the womb. Did you know that on the whole, heart defects are the most common birth defects? In some cases, ultrasound examinations can detect heart defects before the baby is born, which can lead to earlier treatment and support for parents.
The moms in this video know this all to well. Each gave birth to a baby with a heart defect. In some cases their baby’s heart defect was discovered during ultrasound, giving them time to work with their doctors and develop a treatment plan. Other times the baby’s heart problems came as a total shock. Regardless of their individual situation, these moms all agree that expecting parents need to ask questions about their baby’s heart during their 18 to 20 week ultrasound.
If your 18 to 20 week ultrasound is coming up, please take Boston Children’s Heart Center’s “Important Question to ask at your Ultrasound” checklist with you. If you know a couple that has an ultrasound scheduled in the future, send them this video and/or encourage them to use this guide. If your ultrasound shows a possible heart defect, speak to your obstetrician about being referred to a fetal cardiologist as soon as possible.
If asking a series of questions of the person performing your ultrasound makes you uncomfortable, hand them a printed version and ask them to use it as a checklist. Your baby may not be born, but he or she is counting on you already. Taking a few extra moments at your 18 to 20 week ultrasound is an important first step to managing your child’s health.