Proper Care before Birth Vital for Babies

Ensuring your child has a healthy life begins even before he or she is born. Kim and Darrel Savage know that all too well.

Kim was older when she became pregnant with the couple's third child, Luke, so the doctor was watching her closely. During a sonogram at 28 weeks, Dr. John Evans at Stormont-Vail's Maternal and Fetal Medicine in Topeka noticed Luke's heart was enlarged.

He sent Kim for weekly sonograms at KU Med. By 36 weeks, doctors there were concerned enough to induce labor.

Darrel says the doctors prepared them that Luke might not make it through the delivery, but because they knew of Luke's condition, they had everyone there to respond immediately and help Luke through.

Dr. Evans says today's ultrasound techniques can identify things like bone deformities and, in Luke's case, trouble with the heart. If those things aren't known until birth, there may not be time to get a child to the right place for the right treatment. By knowing ahead of time, doctors can initiate treatment before birth and arrange for delivery closer to the appropriate care. Dr. Evans says those minutes often can make the difference in a child's life.

It did for Luke. The immediate treatment helped him hang on until he was able to get a heart transplant at just six and a half weeks of age. Early detection saved his life.

Dr. Evans says studies show that for every dollar spent on prenatal care, three to four dollars is saved on early childhood health care.

Advocating for Action
Luke is the ambassador child for this year's Topeka Heart Gala benefiting the American Heart Assocation.
What: Heart Gala
When: 6:30 pm, Saturday, March 28
Place: Ramada Hotel, downtown Topeka
Cost: $150/person
Contact: 785-228-3435 for ticket information and other sponsorship opportunities


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