Capital Pediatric Cardiology

Fetal Cardiology

Fetal Cardiology services offered throughout Central California

Heart problems in a fetus require highly specialized monitoring and treatment. The Capital Pediatric Cardiology team has offices in Sacramento, Roseville, Modesto, Placerville, Cameron Park, Stockton, Chico, Anderson, and Reading, California, where experts in fetal cardiology provide exceptional care during challenging pregnancies. Call your nearest office to learn how fetal cardiology could benefit your unborn child, or use the online booking form to request an appointment today.

What is fetal cardiology?

Fetal cardiology focuses on the heart health of unborn babies. The fetal cardiology experts at Capital Pediatric Cardiology diagnose and treat many congenital conditions that affect babies in the womb, including:

  • Atrial or ventricular septal defects
  • Valve regurgitation or stenosis
  • Premature atrial contractions
  • Congenital heart block
  • Fetal arrhythmias, such as atrial flutter or supraventricular tachycardia
  • Single ventricle congenital heart disease
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR)
  • Transposition of the great arteries (TGA)
  • Tricuspid atresia (TA)
  • Aortic arch hypoplasia, or interruption
  • Aortic stenosis (AS)

If there’s a chance your baby could have a heart condition, your obstetric team can refer you for a detailed diagnostic evaluation with one of Capital Pediatric Cardiology’s expert fetal cardiologists.

Why might I need a fetal cardiology specialist?

You may need to see a fetal cardiology specialist if you have risk factors that increase your baby’s chance of developing a heart defect as it grows in the womb. These risk factors include a family history of congenital heart disease, maternal diabetes, and conception via in vitro fertilization (IVF) or other forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART).

In other cases, you might require a referral if your obstetric team can’t see the fetal heart clearly on your routine ultrasound scan or detect a possible problem with the baby’s heart structure or rhythm.

What does fetal cardiology involve?

One of the first diagnostic procedures the Capital Pediatric Cardiology team will likely perform when assessing fetal heart health is an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound).

A fetal echocardiogram uses short video clips of your baby’s heart and associated structures taken from different angles. This produces a detailed moving image that helps your provider evaluate blood flow patterns.

Fetal echocardiograms can detect most congenital heart defects and provide invaluable information as early as the 14th week of pregnancy. Fetal echocardiograms are very safe, presenting no risk to you or your baby. They take around 30-60 minutes, depending on the baby’s position and what the echocardiogram reveals. 

What fetal cardiology treatment might my unborn baby need?

In most cases, a fetus grows and matures well in the womb’s protective environment, even with congenital heart disease. Therefore, interventions for fetal heart problems are rare during pregnancy.

Sometimes, it may be necessary to perform a procedure such as opening up a small heart valve; but for most babies, treatment can wait until after delivery. Your pediatric cardiologist works with your obstetrician to monitor the baby’s progress.

For more information on fetal cardiology, call Capital Pediatric Cardiology or request an appointment online today.