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Could your baby have a deadly heart defect and not even know it?

Today is Newborn Heart Defect Screening Awareness Day… I’ve told you guys before about Abby’s birth – she was almost 3 weeks early, and had an incredibly rough delivery. That first day, we weren’t sure that she would make it through the night – but luckily, she pulled through, and quickly grew into a happy, healthy baby girl. But some kids aren’t quite as lucky…

Each year, thousands of babies go home from the hospital with undetected congenital heart defects, sometimes leading to future problems.

Learn how you can help – whether it’s keeping your own baby safe, or helping to spread the word to friends and family. About one in 100 babies are born with a congenital heart defect, but early screening can save lives.

Why should I get my newborn's heart screened?

Why should I get my baby screened? 

Well, as I mentioned, one out of every hundred new babies born each day are born with a defect in their heart. Congenital heart defect {CHD} is the most common birth defect in the US, but sometimes these defects can go undetected into adulthood. I know this first hand – My youngest brother, Brian, was born healthy as could be. As a toddler, he was a chunky but active little guy – no problems whatsoever. At about 6 years old, we switched to a new family doctor, one who would see both of my parents and all of us kids – my mom liked the idea of a doctor who knew all of us, and one that we could grow up with, and still continue to see as we got older. He was the first one to detect a very faint sound when listening to Brian’s heart, something that was probably fine – but he was a really thorough kind of guy, and sent us for further testing.

Those first tests came back normal.

We saw another doctor for a second opinion, who said there was nothing wrong, and to forget about it all. But my mom really trusted our new family doctor, and her mother’s intuition – so she agreed to his advice to have just a couple more tests done. It turns out, my little brother had been born with a defective aortic valve in his heart. It wasn’t causing him too many problems yet, but it was incredibly dangerous. The specialist that we saw said that it was the type of thing that is usually missed by doctors, and leads to a sudden death in a child – either as a baby, an energetic toddler or thriving kiddo, or even as a high school athlete who dies suddenly during a game. Scary stuff to hear as a big sister – Now as a mom, I can’t imagine how frightening this type of news would be.

November 30: Wear pink and do a random act of good.

One little girl that wasn’t as lucky as my brother was is Cora Mae McCormick

After she was born and later passed away in 2009, a new tradition was born as well. Her parents asked for people to wear pink on the 30th of every month and to do an act of good in Cora’s name. So to honor Newborn Heart Defect Awareness Day, pick out your favorite pink shirt, dress or socks or accessories – Together, we’ll wear pink for not only Cora, but for all of the babies born with undetected congenital heart defects.

Do a random act of kindness in their honor that day.

And there’s more you can do. Sign the Pledge to ask your baby’s doctor about screening for congenital heart defects. Share the pledge with other new mommas-to-be. And spread the word about this important screening test using the tweet button below – this test is done in the first 24 hours after a baby arrives, is painless and quick, and you can even hold your baby while they do it – so no separation anxiety for new moms. Learn more about the pulse oximetry test for newborn heart screening.

Let’s Chat: Did you know that this test isn’t standard at many hospitals, in many states? Have you ever heard of it, or had a child in your life with heart defects? Share your stories and your thoughts in the comments below…

{Disclaimer: Photo credit: SabianMaggy. I learned about this cause through Mom Bloggers for Social Good – an amazing group of women using their social media power to do great things and promote amazing organizations. I received no compensation, and all thoughts shared are my own.}



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