Posted by Deborah Pujoue on September 8, 2011
When a baby is born with a cardiac defect, the news can be devastating. During pregnancy, parents dream of all of the wonderful things their child will do throughout their lifetime. We see our kids as successful athletes, academic scholars — maybe even as the head surgeon at Johns Hopkins. Hearing the news that your child has a heart problem can make you wonder if these things will now be out of his or her reach. But that usually isn’t the case. There are resources for you and your child.
Today, thanks to huge advances in the diagnosis and treatment of children with heart defects, many kids grow up and live relatively normal lives. That is particularly good news since the condition is quite common. There are many causes of heart defects in babies, such as genetics, a mother experiencing diabetes during pregnancy, rubella during pregnancy and even some medications and SSRI antidepressants (Prozac, Effexor, Celexa). The good news is that 95 out of 100 children born with a heart defect survive.
Yes, Your Child Can Play and be Active
Once they begin treatment (which varies for each child) many of these kids can be just as active as other kids with only few exceptions. For example, a child with a heart defect likely won’t run for long periods of time due to exhaustion. However, studies have shown that parents seem to notice more poor effects after a child’s activity than the child does. This goes to show that parents can sometimes help to make a child feel ill when the condition didn’t.
Parents wanting to keep their babies safe is a normal and healthy response; however, it may be best to allow your child some space to play and be a kid. If you have a child that was born with a heart defect, that doesn’t have to mean a lifetime spent idling by windows watching other kids play. Your child can live an active and normal life with treatment and monitoring. In fact, I found an article written by an undergraduate student, Amanda Negron, that tells you all about it. Read up on it and get some comfort knowing that your dreams — and your child’s — can still come true.
Be vigilant in making sure that your child’s heart defect doesn’t diminish his/her quality of life. It’s the best gift that you can give them.