Coping and support
Caring for a baby with a serious heart problem, such as transposition of the great arteries, can be challenging and frightening. Here are some strategies that may help make it easier:
- Seek support. Ask for help from family members and friends. Talk with your child's cardiologist about support groups and other types of assistance that are available near you.
- Record your baby's health history. You may want to write down your baby's diagnosis, medications, surgery and other procedures and the dates they were performed, your child's cardiologist's name and phone number, and any other important information about your baby's care. This record will help you recall the care your child has received, and it will be helpful for doctors who are unfamiliar with your baby to understand his or her health history.
Talk about your concerns. You may worry about the risks of vigorous activity, even after your child has had corrective surgery. Talk with the cardiologist about which activities are safe for your child. If some are off-limits, encourage your child in other pursuits rather than focusing on what he or she can't do.
If you have other concerns about your child's health, discuss them with your child's cardiologist, too.
Although every circumstance is different, remember that due to advances in surgical treatment, most babies with transposition of the great arteries grow up to lead active lives.
In most cases, transposition of the great arteries can't be prevented. If you have a family history of heart defects or if you already have a child with a congenital heart defect, consider talking with a genetic counselor and a cardiologist experienced in congenital heart defects before getting pregnant.
Additionally, it's important to take steps to have a healthy pregnancy. For example, before becoming pregnant, be sure you're up to date on all of your immunizations, and start taking a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid.