Fetal Heart Center

Dr. Caroline Lee with a PatientIf you are welcoming a new baby to your family, you want everything to go smoothly for a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. At the St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University Heart Center, we offer exceptional prenatal and newborn heart care to help your baby get a healthy start in life.

Fetal Heart Care at The Heart Center: Why Choose Us?

As part of the renowned Heart Center, the Fetal Heart Center is a national destination for prenatal and newborn heart care. We offer:

  • Pediatric cardiologists specifically trained to detect heart disease in unborn babies
  • Access to the entire Heart Center team, including cardiologists, surgeons, neonatologists (specialists in newborn care) and experts from other pediatric heart specialties
  • Dedicated sonographers specializing in performing fetal heart ultrasounds
  • High-risk pregnancy management from the Fetal Care Center, a partnership among St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine
  • Ongoing patient education and coordination of resources by our dedicated Fetal Heart Center nurse coordinator

Services We Provide to Expecting Families

Heart defects are the most common birth defect in the United States.  Nearly 1 in 100 babies are born with a heart problem. A fetal echocardiogram is a detailed ultrasound performed on the baby’s heart before birth to detect any heart abnormalities. This is typically performed between 19-22 weeks gestation.

Certain women are at a higher risk for having a baby with a congenital heart defect or other heart problem. Fetal echocardiograms are recommended for the following women:

  • Family history of a congenital heart defect
  • IVF pregnancy
  • Maternal conditions such as diabetes, lupus, PKU
  • Monochorionic twins
  • A genetic abnormality found in the unborn baby
  • Abnormal heart suspected on routine ultrasound screening
  • Abnormal heart rate or rhythm in the unborn baby
  • Other abnormalities seen on the baby outside of the heart

At the Fetal Heart Center, our team specializes in detecting, evaluating and managing congenital heart defects before your baby is born. Your family and obstetrician can trust our team for expert diagnosis and treatment recommendations for any congenital heart defect or fetal heart problems, such as heart rhythm or function concerns.

After the Diagnosis

If a heart problem is identified, our team will work with your obstetrician and/or Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist throughout your pregnancy, beginning with options for delivery.  If indicated, your delivery will take place at the Barnes Jewish Hospital Parkview Tower, located in our Women and Infants Center, which is connected to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. No other center in St. Louis offers that convenience and assurance.

During your visits to the Fetal Heart Center, you will be given written education materials and have a consult with a pediatric cardiologist to review the details of your baby’s heart diagnosis, expected treatment, and educate you about any long-term implications the heart problem may have on your new baby.

Our dedicated nurse coordinator will arrange consultations with other services you and your baby may need, as well as provide tours of the hospital for you and your family, including our Inpatient Heart Center. Your nurse coordinator will be a resource to you and your family throughout your pregnancy.

Meet the Experts

From top-ranked doctors to skilled fetal imaging specialists to our expert nurse coordinator, the Fetal Heart Center team is here for you. Meet the team.

Conditions We Treat

Related Programs & Services

We offer world-class care to children thanks in part to generous gifts from hundreds of people who have joined us in making health care better for all children. This philanthropic support enables us to fulfill our mission to do what's right for kids.

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