Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

About CHDs

How can I explain to others what CHD is?

There are several support groups with good information. is a good website for basic information.  Your cardiologist can give you more resources for your specific condition.


Can I carry a pregnancy with my heart disease?

Many conditions are compatible with successful pregnancy if optimized before pregnancy and managed closely in collaboration with expert obstetric care from Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists.

Some conditions carry higher risk and pregnancy would be unwise, to assess your risk you should have consultation with an Adult Congenital Heart Disease provider.

What tests are done to check to see if a baby has CHD?

A fetal echocardiogram, where an ultrasound is done to check the baby’s heart is generally recommended when there is a strong family history of CHD.  Your cardiologist may also recommend additional genetic testing based on the type of your heart disease.

How will my CHD affect my pregnancy?

It depends on the kind of CHD you have.  You should discuss this with your cardiologist who specializes in pregnancy in women with CHD.

If I have CHD will my child have CHD?

The risk of CHD in a child of a woman with CHD is about 5% (compared to 1% in the general population).

Healthy Living

What types of exercise should I choose?

In general, exercise is encouraged. You are advised to pay attention to your symptoms and discuss these with your adult congenital cardiologist. Cardiovascular health is most likely to benefit from aerobic exercise (cardio). Heavy weight lifting may be particularly dangerous in certain situations with particular risk from high blood pressure.

Where can we find healthy tips for living with CHD?

Please discuss this with your cardiologist.

What diet should I follow?

It is important to maintain a healthy weight through careful diet and exercise. Any residual heart limitations will become more pronounced in those who are overweight or obese.

Everyone should choose a healthy diet emphasizing fruits, vegetables, grains, and healthy proteins and avoiding saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars and sodium.



Where can I find access to a social worker?

Our pediatric cardiology program at PCH has a full time social worker dedicated to cardiology. Please contact your cardiologist’s office for details.

How can I talk to other people that were born with my same condition?

Below are some links to patient support groups:

Mended Hearts

Intermountain Healing Hearts

What resources are there to help with the financial cost of CHD medical care?

Our social worker can help with this issue.

Where can I find out how much it will cost for medical care with my insurance?

Calling your insurance company would be a good first step.


Can I go to any cardiologist I want?

You should be seen by a cardiologist who is an expert in CHD and also an expert in pregnancy in women with CHD.

Can't my primary doctor follow me?

It is very important to have a primary care physician for general health and maintenance, but your heart health care will be best provided by an Adult Congenital Cardiologist.  Click here to find an Adult Congenital Cardiologist in Utah.

I feel fine, why do I need to be seen by a congenital specialist?

Even after surgical correction a congenital heart defect is not cured and your adult congenital cardiologist should monitor for long-term changes or complications.

Why do I need to have an Adult Congenital Heart Disease Specialist? Can't my pediatric cardiologist continue to follow me?

Your pediatric cardiologist is an expert on congenital heart defects (CHDs), but does not have training or experience in managing adult issues related to CHDs.


How does air quality and altitude affect my pregnancy?

Poor air quality can have adverse health affects in everyone.  Some patients can tolerate altitude better than others, which depends on the kind of CHD.  Please check with your cardiologist for details.

Will flying affect my pregnancy?

It should not.  However, you may need special precautions especially on long flights.  Please check with your cardiologist regarding air travel.