If your obstetrician suspects a congenital heart defect, due to a family history,
or because of a suspicious ultrasound, ask to be referred to a Fetal Care Center coordinator. Newly diagnosed fetal patients will be seen by multiple doctors and specialists. The
Fetal Care Center coordinator is your point person to organize your visits and try
to get them all on the same day, when possible.
Our specialized multidisciplinary care team works together for you and your baby.
The remainder of your pregnancy is managed by a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist who collaborates with your Fetal Cardiologist. Your team can also include pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, neonatal
and pediatric intensivists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and more. This
team works closely with families to develop a detailed care plan for you and your
Planning for your Delivery
Depending on the type and complexity of your baby’s heart defect, we may have you
deliver at the Labor and Delivery Center, at Augusta University Health, so your baby
can have immediate access to our NICU and a pediatric cardiology evaluation.
When you are between 32 to 35 weeks pregnant your team will hold a family meeting.
This includes tours of our Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units. Your family
will get to meet with the entire multidisciplinary care team. They will review your
specialized birth plan and go over any questions you have before delivery.
Our Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) offers the highest level of care
available, including the region’s largest team of neonatologists. We are unique in
that we are the only hospital in the state of Georgia where the Labor and Delivery
Center is located just steps away from the NICU, so you will be able to visit your
baby as often as you are able after birth and during their treatment.
What Happens After Delivery?
Your child will most likely be transferred to our NICU and may remain here until discharge
or surgery. If your child needs surgery, they will be transferred to the Pediatric
Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for post-operative care.
Our home monitoring program allows families to care for their critical child at home
Our high-risk neonatal home monitoring program at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia
is designed for complex patients who have undergone the first stage in the surgical
palliation of their congenital heart defect. Families are given materials and education
to empower them to be able to take their child home. This program, which has shown
to improve survival rates in critical children, is specially tailored to you and your
Depending on the complexity of the abnormality, your child may or may not require
surgery to treat a congenital heart defect, or in more complex conditions, they may
have to have a series of surgeries. Ongoing medical management may also be needed.
After any initial procedures, your child will continue to receive follow-up care at
our Pediatric Cardiology Outpatient Office, where your pediatric cardiologist will
continue to provide ongoing care management and surgery referrals if needed.