The St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University Heart Center understands that when your baby has been diagnosed with a heart problem, you and your family may experience feelings of anxiety and worry that can be overwhelming. To help provide additional emotional support as you navigate your baby’s care, the Heart Center provides a dedicated therapist to parents through the Perinatal Behavioral Health Service team at the Women & Infants Center.

Lauren Weir, staff therapist
Lauren Weir, staff therapist

While pregnancy can be a wonderful time for families, if your baby is experiencing a medical complication such as a congenital heart defect, there may be additional stress that you were not anticipating. A Perinatal Behavioral Health Service therapist is available to meet one-on-one with families in the hospital setting, an outpatient clinic and/or talk via the phone when needed.

The therapist can provide support for any family members and other caregivers, if needed.

An obstetrician, a nurse coordinator or social worker can refer parents to the therapist once a baby has been diagnosed either during pregnancy or after the baby is born. The therapist is then available to follow you through the rest of your pregnancy and the postpartum period, both while your baby is hospitalized and by checking in with you after you have gone home and identifying resources closer to home.

Perinatal Behavioral Health Service provides support for moms and family members who may experience: 

  • Postpartum depression
  • Stress, anxiety, worry
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Increased responsibilities
  • Balancing the needs of your baby and other family members

Why ask for help?

We know that pregnancy can be a time of stress for parents, and you may already be worried about what’s ahead for you and your family. When you have a baby with a medical complication, these feelings can increase greatly and may put you at higher risk for experiencing mood-related symptoms that interfere with your ability to care for your child and yourself. We’re here to help you and your family during this time and encourage you to let us know how we can be there for you.

For additional information or a referral by your obstetrician, contact 314.454.5437.