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Metro hospital starts program for pregnant women with heart disease

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A metro hospital has opened one of the first programs in the country specifically for women with heart disease who are pregnant or want to become pregnant. The mission is to see that those women and their babies survive.

Everything appears so normal. A newborn is with his mom and big sis. Dad is proudly watching. But there was nothing normal about the delivery of Kysen Haith.

"I had to deliver in cardiac ICU, and I had a ton of different doctors in there just monitoring," said Cierra Haith.

Haith, of Salina, delivered in ICU at Saint Luke's Hospital because she has heart disease. Her aortic stenosis, a narrowed valve, had worsened since she gave birth to her first child. This pregnancy, unplanned, posed great risks.

"So for Cierra, lower blood pressure and more work on the heart, she was at risk for sudden death," said Dr. Karen Florio, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist.

Haith was referred to Saint Luke's because it has a new heart disease in pregnancy program. It's the fourth formalized program in the country to offer coordinated care by maternal-fetal medicine specialists, heart specialists and others. The program is for women born with heart disease and those who've developed it.

"It's really important to catch these women prior to getting pregnant because we want to inform them not only of the risks of pregnancies but what to expect throughout pregnancy and the labor and delivery process," said Dr. Florio.

Haith was told she couldn't push while in labor. It would be too hard on her heart.

"We actually gave her an epidural and we delivered her with forceps, so she doesn't push," said Dr. Florio.

It all went beautifully.

"He's healthy, and it was just really nice. And I am healthy and everything checked out. My heart is doing great," said Haith.

She has a heart full of love for her family.