Why it’s important to ask about your baby’s heart during an ultrasound

Did you know that on the whole, heart defects are the most common birth defects? It’s true, and in some cases ultrasound examinations can detect heart defects even before the baby is born, which can lead to earlier treatment for the child  and extra support for the parents.

The moms in this video know all to well about the difficulties that arise from having a child born with heart defect, and the importance of starting treatment as soon as possible. (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. Watch to find out why:

If your 18 to 20 week ultrasound is coming up, please copy these questions down and ask them of your ultrasound technician. (Or print up a version of this blog and bring it with you to reference.) If you know a couple that has an ultrasound scheduled in the future, send them this video and 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.