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Congenital heart defect brochure for expecting parents

Congenital heart defect brochure for expecting parents

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An overview of the most common birth defect and what expecting parents need to know.
An overview of the most common birth defect and what expecting parents need to know.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Kristine Brite McCormick on Jul 29, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Signs and symptoms

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Learn more, get support
A diagnosis of congenital heart disease can be scary, so if your child is one of the 1 in 100 born with a defect, use all the resources and support out there. A few national organizations have support groups and many local communities are home to smaller groups. Cora’s Story is a non –profit organization dedicated to educating pregnant women and mother’s about CHD, for resources and to ask questions, contact us. 260.517.9680 kristine@corasstory.org

Baby tires easily during feeding Poor weight gain Sweating around the head, especially during feeding Fast breathing when at rest or sleeping Pale, dusky, or bluish skin color Puffy face, hands and/or feet Rapid heart rate Constant lung infections

Congenital Heart Defects

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Remember, no test catches CHD all the time, so knowing these signs can be lifesaving. Talk to your doctor about any of these signs, but remember, some of these signs can be present in healthy babies and some can also signal another problem. Not every baby with a defect presents signs or symptoms. You are your child’s best advocate.

www.CorasStory.org What every expecting parent needs to know about the most common birth defect.
Screening, symptoms, resources.

What are congenital heart defects? Congenital heart defects, or CHD, also called congenital heart disease are when a person is born with a heart problem or problems. This issue can be serious requiring multiple surgeries or minor not requiring treatment.

Early screening for CHD
Ultrasounds Most mothers have an ultrasound around 20 weeks into their pregnancies. This is when many parents find out the gender of their child. So, they anxiously ask and wait to find out if they’re having a boy or a girl. Ultrasounds aren’t just for finding out gender, they’re for making sure baby is developing properly. Mom can help by asking the technician questions about the baby’s heart, including asking the technician if the baby has four chambers, and if the heart looks normal. Sometimes, another ultrasound known as a level ii ultrasound is ordered and defects found.

Who gets CHD? This is an important one. ANYONE. CHD doesn’t discriminate. A genetic link exists, but CHD babies are also born into families with no known CHD background.

Pulse oximetry

So what? Expecting couples are bombarded with messages about everything from cribs to SIDS, but taking a few moments to learn about CHD can be lifesaving. Study the symptoms, learn about screening and find out where to go for more information.

If not already common practice at your birth hospital, request your newborn be screened with pulse oximetry sometime after 24 hours of life and before discharge. While no method catches heart defects all the time, this simple vital taker can catch some. Researchers found pulse oximetry performed on a calm baby sometime after 24 hours most effective. Because the test is so simple, quick, noninvasive and inexpensive, it’s a no brainer. If baby’s oxygen level is under 95 percent, further testing is recommended. Even if baby’s oxygen level is above 95 percent, a defect could still be present. Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect, affecting 1 in 100 births and can go undetected into adulthood.

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