What is a CHD Baby?

Also known as CHD, congenital heart disease is a term for babies born with heart defects. Therefore, a CHD baby is one who has CHD. These defects affect the normal way the heart works, but the term “congenital” means the condition is present from birth. It is one of the most common types of birth defects. Knowing where to find CHD Support is extremely important if you have a child suffering from CHD. It can be a difficult road to walk without support.

Why CHD Happens

In most cases, there are no obvious signs of a cause of congenital heart disease. Despite this, there are some things known to increase the risk of developing it. These include:

  • Down’s syndrome: This is a genetic disorder that affects a baby’s normal physical development. It can also cause learning difficulties
  • Mother’s illness during pregnancy, such as rubella
  • Mother taking certain types of medicine during pregnancy
  • Mother smoking or drinking alcohol during pregnancy
  • Mother having uncontrolled diabetes
  • Chromosome defects
  • Inherited

Often it is possible to diagnose congenital heart disease before a baby is born. This is done through an ultrasound. Despite this, it is not always possible and is sometimes detected later in life.

Signs and Symptoms of CHD

Congenital heart disease can show itself in a  number of symptoms. These especially show themselves in babies and children. Signs include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Swelling around stomach
  • Swelling around eyes
  • Extreme tiredness and fatigue
  • Blue tinge to the skin or lips (referred to as cyanosis)
  • Tiredness and rapid breathing when a baby is feeding

Types of CHD

There are many types of congenital heart disease. They have names, and refer to the type of defect inthe heart. CHD babies may have one or more defects. Common defects include:

  • Septal defects: Hole between 2 of the heart’s chambers
  • Coarctation of the aorta, when the main artery is narrow
  • Pulmonary valve stenosis, when the flow of blood out of the lower right chamber of the heart to the lungs, is too narrow
  • Transposition of the great arteries, where the pulmonary and aortic valves and the arteries have swapped positions
  • Underdeveloped heart

Treating a CHD Baby

Treatment for congenital heart disease will depend on which defect the baby has. When there is a mild defect, such as a hole in the heart, it may not need to be treated. Sometimes these can improve on their own. However, if surgery or other procedures are needed, it is because the defect is causing problems. Modern surgical techniques can often restore natural function. Despite this, many people with CHD will need treatment throughout their lives. They will need to be careful, and visit a specialist through childhood and adulthood. It is important to ensure problems do not get worse over time.

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