Opportunities to enhance parental well-being during prenatal counseling for congenital heart disease

Theresa A. Tacy, Nadine A. Kasparian, Ruchika Karnik, Miwa Geiger, Erica Sood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease (CHD) can be a life-altering and traumatic event for expectant parents. Parental anxiety, depression, and traumatic stress are common following a prenatal cardiac diagnosis and if untreated, symptoms often persist long-term. During prenatal counseling, parents must try to manage psychological distress, navigate uncertainty, process complex medical information, and make high-stakes medical decisions for their unborn child and their family. Physicians must deliver the diagnosis, describe the expected perinatal management plan, discuss short and long-term prognoses and introduce elements of uncertainty that may exist for the particular diagnosis. Physican training in these important skills is highly variable and many in our field acknowledge the need for improved guidance on best practices for counseling and supporting parents during pregnancy and early parenthood after prenatal diagnosis, while also sustaining physicians’ own emotional well-being. We describe these challenges and the opportunities that exist to improve the current state of prenatal counseling in CHD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151587
JournalSeminars in Perinatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2022


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