On average, only about half of congenital heart defects, the most common of all birth defects, are detected in utero. Some babies even leave the hospital undetected, leading to developmental delays, other health issues and even sadly death.
Pledge to talk to your doctor about screening your baby after birth. If you aren't pregnant, take the pledge to tell at least ONE pregnant friend about the screening.
Newborn heart defect screening, also called pulse oximetry screening, is noninvasive, quick and inexpensive. In many cases, you can even hold the baby as it's being done. For best, results, babies should be screened after 24 hours.
Currently, nine states have passed pulse ox screening laws and several hospitals are screening every baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, March of Dimes and many other groups all support the screening for every baby.
If my daughter had been screened, her critical congenital heart defect might have been discovered, instead she died suddenly and unexpectedly in arms. Now, I'm spreading the word to save babies.
Remember to ask your doctor, "will you screen my baby after birth with pulse oximetry?"
Also because pulse oximetry screening does NOT find every congenital heart defect, talk to your doctor about the signs and symptoms of CHD such as your baby turning blue, having trouble feeding, sweating and being lethargic.
-Kristine Brite McCormick