New Kansas City program helps women with heart disease have heal - KCTV5

New Kansas City program helps women with heart disease have healthy babies

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For many women who were born with a heart condition, in the past, they were told not to have children.  However, that is now changing because the care for those women has also changed.  (Graphicstock) For many women who were born with a heart condition, in the past, they were told not to have children. However, that is now changing because the care for those women has also changed. (Graphicstock)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

For many women who were born with a heart condition, in the past, they were told not to have children.

However, that is now changing because the care for those women has also changed. A relatively new local program is now helping these women have healthy babies.

Courtney Alumbaugh’s baby boy, Landon, is happy and healthy.

“He’s my entire universe,” Alumbaugh said. “I love him so much.”

Alumbaugh beams when she looks at her son. However, when she first found out she was pregnant, concern overshadowed her joy.

“I was born three pounds six ounces,” Alumbaugh said.

Only a few days after her birth, Alumbaugh needed open heart surgery.

“They told my dad, you better hold her now because there is a possibility she won’t make it back,” Alumbaugh said.

Alumbaugh’s heart condition made her own mother worry.

Dr. Laura Schmidt with St. Luke’s Hospital says women with congenital heart disease in the past were told that they couldn’t have babies.

Schmidt works with patients like Alumbaugh in the Heart Disease in Pregnancy Program. The program started about two years ago and had about 10 patients.

“We see people with palpitations, heart rhythm problems, congenital heart disease,” Schmidt said. “It’s a wide variety of heart disease.”

Now, about 100 women a year receive coordinated care in the program.

When Alumbaugh found out she was pregnant, a pamphlet gave her hope.

“I didn't know where to go," Alumbaugh said. “No one was going to take me because I was so high risk, and it was so wonderful being able to find a place that was accepting to you.”

Alumbaugh had no major problems during her pregnancy and had a natural delivery.

Today, Landon has a healthy heart and he is thriving.

“Courntey was at higher risk, but she did very well, and we're finding that people with congenital heart disease can do well with pregnancy,” Schmidt said.

Every patient is different, and if you are a woman with heart disease who wants to have a child, it is important to talk with doctors even before you try to get pregnant. 

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