Fetal Heart Program

The Fetal Heart Program at MUSC Women's Health is part of the Advanced Fetal Care Center where comprehensive care is provided to mothers carrying babies with a confirmed or suspected heart problem. We work closely with a statewide network of obstetricians, maternal-fetal medicine experts, pediatric cardiologists and surgeons to ensure the highest quality care throughout pregnancy, during delivery and after birth.

Heart problems are the most common congenital condition affecting newborns. The MUSC Fetal Heart Program provides accurate diagnosis, detailed management recommendations and coordination of care.

Patient Story

Read about Elizabeth's congenital heart defect and the care provided by the pediatric cardiology team.

Services We Provide

  • State-of-the-art fetal echocardiography performed by specialized fetal cardiac sonographers
  • Counseling and education about cardiac diagnosis, prognosis, treatment options and potential outcomes.
  • Planning for labor and delivery
  • Coordination of multidisciplinary care including obstetricians, maternal-fetal-medicine specialists, and other pediatric subspecialists, including but not limited to neonatology, pediatric surgery, pediatric cardiology, pediatric nephrology, pediatric neurosurgery, and pediatric ENT
  • Complete and family-centered care of your newborn after birth
  • Access to one of the leading pediatric cardiothoracic surgery teams in the world

Frequently Asked Questions

A congenital heart defect (CHD) is a heart problem that occurs while the heart is still developing and is present at birth. Defects can range from holes between heart chambers to more severe defects such as a heart chamber that did not develop.

Fetal ultrasounds are performed in most pregnant women to monitor fetal growth and to detect abnormalities. Congenital heart defects can be found during routine fetal ultrasounds. If your baby has potential risk factors, like a family history of heart disease, our fetal cardiologists can carefully examine your baby's heart.

At your appointment, you will have a fetal echocardiogram and possibly a high-risk maternal ultrasound.

If your baby is diagnosed with a heart defect, our team will discuss your baby’s condition, treatment options and long-term outlook. If there are other organs that are not normal, you will meet other doctors as well, to discuss potential options and management during and after your delivery.

When heart defects are detected while your baby is still in the womb, we are able to better manage your baby’s care before and after delivery.

If your baby has a complex heart defect that will require surgery in the first few weeks of life, we will make arrangements for you to deliver at MUSC.

For most types of fetal heart defects, the mother can give birth naturally. In rare instances, the baby may need to be delivered by caesarian section. Our team will be there with you every step of the way to provide both clinical and support services to help you with newborn care and special family needs that may arise as a result of this difficult time.