Children's Hospital Colorado

Fetal Testing and Intervention Services

Advancing treatments to save lives and lifetimes.

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For expectant parents expecting babies who have been diagnosed with a fetal condition, the Colorado Fetal Care Center offers highly personalized care. We provide a variety of advanced fetal diagnostic tests, treatments and procedures.

Our team of maternal fetal specialists and pediatric surgeons has worked relentlessly to diagnose and treat fetal conditions. As a result, we're continuously offering new and innovative services. Today, the Colorado Fetal Care Center provides virtually every fetal diagnostic test and treatment available.

We also have one of the most experienced fetal care teams in the country, ensuring that you and your baby are in the most capable hands possible. Our fetal care specialist team includes:

  • Fetal surgeons: surgeons who specialize in prenatal (before birth) and newborn surgery and who have extensive training in treating conditions that are diagnosed before birth
  • Maternal fetal medicine specialists with expertise in fetal surgery: These Ob/Gyn doctors undergo years of extra training related to the care of both mom and baby during high-risk pregnancies. They have extensive training in diagnosing and treating conditions that occur before birth.
  • Pediatric, fetal and obstetrical anesthesiologists: doctors who specialize in pain management, maternal and fetal safety and other techniques to make fetal surgery and birth as safe, comfortable and stress-free as possible for moms and their babies
  • High-risk obstetrical nurses: nurses with vast experience in caring for parents expecting an infant requiring immediate care
  • A dedicated operating room and fetal nursing team: specialized equipment and care teams just for moms with a prenatal diagnosis
  • Fetal and pediatric cardiologists: subspecialist doctors who care for babies with heart conditions before and after birth
  • Neonatology specialists: Neonatologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, lactation specialists, psychologists, therapists and technicians are among our team of experts who specialize in caring for newborns with complex medical conditions.
  • Psychologists and social workers: psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and other mental health specialists with expertise in supporting you through a high-risk pregnancy
  • Pediatric subspecialists: doctors, nurses and other staff with extensive training and experience in particular medical areas such as breathing, neurology, orthopedics, urology and many others

Fetal diagnostic testing

Before treatment begins, our team uses in-depth fetal diagnostics to address any concerns you or referring providers may have. Based on you and your baby’s specific needs, our fetal specialists will work together to choose the correct diagnostic tests and schedule consultations with specialists in other areas when necessary.

Our fetal care team takes full advantage of their dedicated fetal clinic equipped with state-of-the-art imaging and surgical resources. The clinic is specifically designed to ensure the most accurate diagnosis and best possible outcomes.

Fetal nonstress test 

The nonstress test is a common, noninvasive test to assess the health of your baby while they are developing. We will monitor your baby’s heart rate to see how it responds to your baby’s movements. “Nonstress” means we are putting no stress on your baby. We typically recommend this test after 26 weeks’ gestation.

Contraction stress test

A contraction stress test helps determine if your baby will be healthy during labor contractions. We will give you the hormone oxytocin to induce a contraction and then monitor your baby’s heart rate. If your baby’s heart rate slows when you have a contraction, they may not be able to handle labor stress. 

Ultrasound biophysical profile

An ultrasound biophysical profile gives your care team an overall view of your baby’s health during pregnancy. It combines a fetal nonstress test with a fetal ultrasound to check your baby’s heart rate, movement, breathing, muscle tone and amniotic fluid level. This is a noninvasive test and can help our providers determine when and how it’s safest to deliver your baby.

Fetal Doppler ultrasound

A Doppler ultrasound uses soundwaves to measure blood circulation in your baby, uterus and placenta. Our providers often use it to diagnose particular conditions, such as fetal growth restriction and twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. 

Ultrasound fetal growth assessment

An ultrasound fetal growth assessment, also known as a fetal growth scan, measures your baby’s size and amniotic fluid volume. The assessment measures your baby’s head diameter and circumference, abdominal circumference and femur length to see if your baby is small or big for their gestational age (how many weeks along in pregnancy you are). Through this test, we can diagnose growth conditions such as fetal growth restriction.

Prenatal testing offered at the Colorado Fetal Care Center

When you have a fetal diagnostic test at the Colorado Fetal Care Center our care team will prepare all the information from your exam, explain it in terms you will understand, answer your questions and present all your options.

Prenatal testing we offer includes:

Learn more about our fetal imaging services

Fetal treatments at the Colorado Fetal Care Center

Our team members are skilled in the most advanced fetal therapies and treatments. By treating various fetal anomalies during pregnancy instead of after birth, we allow babies to start healing before they’re even born. This gives them a better chance at the best possible outcome.

Our world-renowned physicians offer lifesaving fetal interventions that:

  • Correct problems that would be too advanced to treat after the baby is born
  • Minimize long-term disabilities
  • Prevent a life-threatening situation by treating the baby while they are still within the mother’s womb
  • Avoid a complication, such as fetal airway obstruction, that could be fatal at birth

Our care team also provides expert monitoring and care for mothers after they deliver their babies. This is critical for high-risk pregnancies and provides the entire family with the best care. With a focus on each child’s long-term quality of life, we offer some of the most innovative fetal therapies available today, which fall into two categories: minimally invasive fetal procedures and open fetal surgery.

Minimally invasive fetal procedures

We perform minimally invasive procedures to treat and correct life-threatening fetal conditions, ideally before they cause further complications.

Often, during these fetal interventions, the fetal surgeon inserts a tiny fiber optic camera (a fetoscope) and other specialized instruments through a small incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus, and then minimizes or corrects the issue.

These fetoscopic and ultrasound-guided interventions let the surgical team clearly visualize, access and treat babies while they’re still tucked inside their mother’s womb.

Our care team also performs several other minimally invasive procedures for a number of conditions. If you have questions about treatment for a particular condition, contact our Center at 1-720-777-4463.

Open fetal surgery

Some conditions require open fetal surgery, also called in-utero surgery, while the mother is still pregnant. For open fetal surgeries, a team of fetal surgeons opens the mother’s abdomen and then makes a small opening in her uterus, exposing the area where the fetus requires surgery.

They correct the fetal issue and then close the uterus and abdomen so the baby can keep growing and developing.

You and your baby are completely comfortable and safe during these procedures due to the medications and monitoring provided by our anesthesiologists.

Fetoscopic myelomeningocele (MMC) repair

Fetoscopic MMC repair is an advanced minimally invasive surgery that treats MMC, a severe form of spina bifida. We perform this surgery before birth with three small instruments to heal MMC. After surgery, the baby remains in the womb to grow and develop.

Fetal treatment for twins

Some fetal conditions are specific to twins, and we have vast experience caring for twins before they are born. Often, these conditions will affect one twin more than the other and we have the experience and expertise to help both twins come into this world as healthy as possible. We create specialized treatment plans for a number of conditions unique to twins, including:

  • Twin reversed arterial perfusion sequence (TRAP)
  • Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS)
  • Selective intrauterine growth restriction (sIUGR): One twin is not growing as they should because the twins are not sharing the placenta equally.
  • Twin anemia polycythemia sequence (TAPS): TAPS creates an imbalance of blood counts between twins in the womb, which causes one twin to not receive enough oxygen and nutrients to develop properly.
  • Complications in monoamniotic twins: Monochorionic twins share the same amniotic sac in their mother’s uterus.
  • Various anomalies affecting one or both twins

Fetal procedures we perform

Our team is fully equipped to perform a full range of fetal surgeries and procedures, including:

  • Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) treatment, including:
  • Ex utero intrapartum treatment (EXIT procedures)
  • Fetoscopic endoluminal tracheal occlusion (FETO) for severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH)
  • Open fetal surgery
  • Fetoscopy: This minimally invasive procedure under ultrasound guidance allows our specialists to see the baby, uterus, amniotic sac and other anatomical structures. This helps our team diagnose and rule out different conditions.
  • Fetal shunt placement: This treatment places a small tube (shunt) in your baby’s body, often in the bladder or chest, to help drain fluid so normal fetal growth can occur. This is a minimally invasive procedure using ultrasound guidance.
  • Ultrasound-guided needle procedures: This includes intrauterine blood transfusions to treat low blood counts in the fetus.
  • Amniotic band resection for amniotic band syndrome (ABS): This procedure removes an amniotic sac lining that has wrapped around a body part or body parts of the developing fetus. Without treatment, this condition can cause deformities or amputation of limbs in fetuses.
  • Interstitial laser for fetal masses with identified feeding vessel: This occludes, or blocks, the vessel.
  • Radio frequency ablation: This procedure is used to treat twin reversed arterial perfusion (TRAP sequence). During this minimally invasive procedure, our providers guide a fetoscope into the uterus using ultrasound. They then block blood vessels that carry shared blood between the twins.

Family-friendly fetal care

Our facility is specially designed so that parents and their babies with complex needs can both receive comprehensive treatment and care – all under one roof. We offer a single, comfortable space equipped for every aspect of maternal and fetal treatment, from prenatal diagnostic testing and fetal intervention through delivery and postpartum care.

The Colorado Fetal Care Center has dedicated rooms for:

  • Labor, delivery and postpartum recovery
  • Cesarean delivery (C-section)
  • Infant stabilization
  • Triage
  • Ultrasound
  • Fetal surgery and intervention

Where to find fetal care services

Learn where to find fetal care services at Children’s Colorado.

Why choose the Colorado Fetal Care Center for your baby’s lifesaving fetal treatment?

Our team has performed more than 1,600 surgeries, making us one of the most experienced fetal centers in the country. With state-of-the-art facilities, the latest technologies and extensive experience caring for the highest-risk pregnancies, we consistently achieve some of the best outcomes in the nation. In fact, our physicians, surgeons and researchers have pioneered many maternal and fetal treatments.

We have been designated a Center of Excellence in Obstetric Anesthesiology by the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology's (SOAP) for our exceptional and safe care of mothers and babies.

Our team works continuously to develop new therapies across the perinatal spectrum (the time before and after birth). Because of our research and innovations, we offer some of the most innovative fetal therapies available today and continually advance the standard of care for maternal and fetal medicine, which means:

  • Personalized care for everyone we see
  • Improving outcomes for mothers and babies
  • Improving babies’ quality of life by improving their long-term health
  • Decreasing the risk for expecting parents
  • Giving all babies – even those not yet born – the best chance at a bright, healthy future

Would you like a second opinion?

If you have received a prenatal diagnosis, are considering treatment options or just want to feel more confident about your treatment plan, our fetal care experts are here to help.

Request a second opinion from our Colorado Fetal Care Center