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Your Fetal Cardiology Support Team

The Children’s Mercy Fetal Health Center brings together all the specialists your baby might need in one place. For families with a prenatal diagnosis of a heart condition, this team will help you navigate your baby’s diagnosis and work together to develop a comprehensive delivery and treatment plan.

Fetal Cardiology coordinators — your guide along the way

The Fetal Cardiology Program has one registered nurse (RN) coordinator and one advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) provider who serve as care coordinators for families like yours. Your coordinators will be there with you throughout the process to set up your appointments, answer your questions and help you feel at home when you come for an appointment.

As specially-trained nurses with expertise in fetal cardiac conditions, your coordinators can help you interpret and understand the complex medical information about your baby’s condition. They are available anytime throughout your pregnancy, delivery and beyond to answer your questions by phone, email, or through the MyChildrensMercy patient portal.

Expert consultations with the Fetal Cardiology Team

In order to best support you, there is a multidisciplinary team of specialists you will meet along your journey here in the Fetal Health Center. This team will help you navigate your baby’s diagnosis and work together to develop a comprehensive delivery and treatment plan.

Depending on your child’s needs, these supportive services might include:

  • An integrated consultation where you meet with multiple specialists at one time to coordinate care
  • A surgical consultation if your child may need surgery
  • Meetings with support specialists, such as social workers, chaplains, and palliative care team members

Your questions answered, every time

Every family will see a cardiology provider following your initial echo and every time you have an echo at your appointment. You will leave your first visit with answers and always have a chance to ask the cardiology team questions after each echo.

After your initial appointment where your baby’s diagnosis was established or confirmed, your coordinator will create a tailored schedule of appointments and consultations that is specific to your family’s needs.

Integrated consultation — all your specialists in one place

For many families, the next appointment is a group meeting called an integrated consultation. At this meeting, you will sit down with the entire team of specialists to discuss your baby’s diagnosis and they will walk you through what to expect the day of delivery and beyond.

We strongly encourage you to bring a support person with you to this meeting. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions and understand how different specialists will be working together to provide your baby with the best care.

Get to know your Fetal Cardiology team

Integrated consultations and other follow-up appointments have different members in attendance, depending on your baby’s specific needs. Your consultations at the Fetal Health Center may include some or all of the following specialists:

If your baby will need a cardiac surgical procedure after birth, your care team will include one of our highly experienced cardiovascular surgeons or interventional catheterization specialists. You will have a chance to meet with a cardiac surgeon or interventional specialist during your time in the Fetal Health Center. 

Babies who have a more complex heart defect may need multiple surgeries. Some babies can be monitored at home between the first and second stages of surgery through our CHAMP (Cardiac High-Acuity Monitoring) Program.

Chaplains provide spiritual support for families from all backgrounds and traditions. They can also help connect you with a local representative from your faith tradition if you would like. 

A Child Life specialist is available to provide developmentally appropriate education to families regarding a baby’s diagnosis and possible NICU admission. Child Life is also available to provide opportunities for memory-making to honor and support each family. 

A genetic counselor can help with evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and counseling for a variety of inherited conditions, chromosome disorders and genetic birth differences.

A member of our lactation management team can help support you if you plan to breastfeed your baby. 

The Palliative Care Team (PaCT) is a select group of doctors and nurses dedicated to supporting your family as you care for a child with significant health care needs. In the Fetal Cardiology Program, they are involved in the care of any baby who is diagnosed with a critically complex heart condition. The palliative care team can help you better understand your child’s diagnosis, talk about your treatment options, and determine what the best possible quality of life looks like for you and your child. 

Having a child with a serious health condition can be stressful for your family. A licensed clinical social worker meets with each family in the Fetal Health Center to provide emotional support during your pregnancy, assist in connecting you with resources, and help you prepare for the time you may spend in the hospital with your baby.