Our littlest patients aren’t even born yet. Through our Prenatal Cardiology Program, in collaboration with the Zickler Family Prenatal Pediatrics Institute at Children's National, we provide comprehensive, specialized care for the unborn child diagnosed with a heart condition.
Prenatal Cardiology Program at Children’s National Hospital: Why Choose Us
In our Prenatal Cardiology Program, we treat the unborn child as a separate and individual patient. Features of our care include:
- Collaboration: We coordinate care for the unborn child across many different specialists, including maternal prenatal medicine physicians and obstetricians with subspecialties in cardiology, cardiac surgery, genetics and radiology.
- Supporting prenatal development: While our specialty is the prenatal heart, our goal is a healthy child. We monitor brain function and other aspects of prenatal development to ensure the best possible outcomes for the child after birth. Learn more about our Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Program.
- Early detection: Through innovations such as fetal echocardiography and fetal magnetic resonance imaging, we can detect heart abnormalities as early as 12 weeks gestation. Early detection allows us to plan any necessary interventions as soon as possible. Learn more about cardiac imaging.
- Care for the whole family: Expectant mothers whose babies have been diagnosed with a heart condition may experience sadness and anxiety. These feelings can affect a mother's family as well as her pregnancy. Our team works with the entire family to provide emotional support to mothers and loved ones during this time.
Prenatal Cardiology Team at Children’s National
It takes a big team to care for a tiny heart. Our Prenatal Cardiology Program, the preeminent provider of prenatal cardiac services in the region, works together with Children’s Division of Prenatal and Transitional Medicine. Your unborn child’s heart team may include many specialists, such as:
- Prenatal cardiologists
- Prenatal neurologists
- Pediatric radiologists
- Social workers
- Dedicated program coordinator
- Dedicated nurse coordinator
In addition, as we plan for your baby to begin life outside the womb, we work with many members of the pediatric heart team, including interventional cardiologists, cardiac anesthesiologists, neonatologists and cardiac surgeons. Together, we create a plan so we are ready for all possibilities after your baby’s birth.
Welcome to Children's National, Yves d'Udekem, M.D., Ph.D.
Medical Director Mary Donofrio, M.D., and the Children's National Prenatal Cardiology Program welcome expert pediatric cardiac surgeon Dr. d'Udekem.
Prenatal Cardiac Care: What to Expect Before and After Birth
Our team ensures continuity of care for your child. The treatment that begins during pregnancy transitions seamlessly to care during birth and infancy.
Treatment goals are to:
- Treat your unborn child as a separate and individual patient
- Understand how heart conditions may affect your child’s well-being during the pregnancy
- Determine if and when intervention is necessary, including medical management of prenatal arrhythmias and treating heart failure