It affects 1 in 100 babies.
It kills more babies than SIDS or anyother birth defect.
It’s the most common birth defect.
It kills more children than double allchildhood cancers combined.
Congenital heart defects are sadly notrare. Yet, I first heard the phrase from the coroner. My daughterCora was born with an undetected congenital heart defect despite ahealthy pregnancy and a clean bill of health after she was born.
Cora died suddenly in my arms while Ibreastfed her. I looked up for a moment and looked back down, andCora was pale, limp and not breathing.
Thankfully, most babies live. In fact,over 2 million adults are currently living with a congenital heartdefect. But, many mothers are also blind sided by CHD just like Iwas. I now work to spread the word because I think every pregnantwoman should know about the most common of all birth defects.
I wish someone had told me the signsand symptoms of CHD in an infant: trouble breathing, difficultyfeeding, falling asleep during breathing, turning blue and swearingaround the head.
I also wish I’d known that CHDs strikeanywhere regardless of age, race and socioeconomic background. A fewCHDs have a genetic link, but many do not. The exact cause of CHD isnot known. Experts advise woman to take folic acid not onlythroughout pregnancy but before getting pregnant, to avoid smokingand alcohol while pregnant and to stay clear of some prescriptiondrugs including opiate pain killers while pregnant.
If you’d like to read more about Coraor CHD, please visit


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