Children's Hospital Colorado
Colorado Fetal Care Center
Colorado Fetal Care Center

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Fetal Care Center FAQs

Before you visit the Colorado Fetal Care Center at Children's Hospital Colorado, you may have questions about what you can expect. Check out our fetal care center FAQs to get answers to your questions, including what you can expect from diagnosis, fetal interventions and recovery. You'll also find information on where to stay before and after your procedure.

Common maternal fetal medicine questions

Below you'll find answers to parents' common questions to give you the knowledge you need to feel confident and prepared when coming to our Center.

A maternal fetal medicine specialists (MFM) is a specially trained obstetrician who takes care of women managing complicated or high-risk pregnancies.

MFM physicians at the Colorado Fetal Care Center are also world-class fetal surgeons, treating both maternal and fetal health concerns before, during and after birth.

An MFM treats two patients at the same time: mother and baby. They tailor the testing, treatment and their care approach to the unique needs of the mom and each fetus.

Before pregnancy, your maternal fetal specialist can provide pre-conception counseling by reviewing your medical history and risk factors to determine the best approach to your pregnancy.

Once you're pregnant, your MFM will perform thorough diagnostic tests, such as blood tests, an ultrasound, a fetal echocardiogram, a fetal MR, genetic testing and an amniocentesis. Test results allow the doctor to look inside the womb and:

  • Diagnose and evaluate the developing fetus
  • Check the growth and development of your baby(s)
  • Confirm a suspected diagnosis made by your primary doctor
  • Detect fetal abnormalities, birth defects and chromosomal conditions

And during delivery, your MFM will work with high-risk OB hospitalists and any other specialist your baby will need upon delivery to provide quality, coordinated care.

Your primary OB may refer you to see one of our maternal fetal medicine specialists if:

  • You're managing a high-risk pregnancy
  • They suspect a fetal anomaly or condition

A pregnancy is high-risk when it threatens the health or life of a woman or her fetus. High-risk pregnancies may occur when:

  • A pregnant woman gets sick
  • A woman with an existing chronic condition gets pregnant
  • A woman is carrying more than one fetus
  • There are one or more maternal risk factors present, including obesity and young or old maternal age
  • The fetus develops a fetal anomaly or condition

Our MFMs perform fetal surgery if doing so could potentially correct a complication, minimize disability or prevent the loss of the fetus.

Fetal surgery isn't always a treatment option; there are specific conditions that we do fetal surgery for.

We treat virtually every known fetal anomaly, including:

See which fetal conditions we treat here.

If fetal surgery isn't necessary, but it's anticipated that your baby will need immediate care upon birth, we can design a delivery plan tailored to their needs.

Our Maternal Fetal Medicine Program ensures the most comprehensive care and that your baby will have every specialist they may need ready to care for them as soon as they're born.

Yes, you can still see your local doctor during your pregnancy. In fact, our specialists partner with referring providers by regularly sharing updates, imaging and test results with them. We keep your regular OB or MFM in the loop every step of the way, ensuring you and your baby are receiving the highest quality, coordinated care.

This way you can receive care close to home throughout your pregnancy.

Depending on the factors surrounding your unique high-risk pregnancy, you'll either deliver your baby right here or at a hospital close to home. You will partner with your Colorado Fetal Care Center care team and your referring provider to determine the best place for you to deliver your baby.

Babies are born at our fetal care center when it's anticipated that they will:

  • Need intervention by pediatric specialists or pediatric surgeons at birth or shortly after birth
  • Be admitted to the NICU, as most preemies and babies who had fetal anomalies do
  • Go to the CICU upon delivery, like the majority of babies with congenital heart defects do

Should you deliver your baby here, you'll do so in one of our specially designed labor or C-section suites surrounded by every pediatric subspecialist who will be necessary in the care of your baby upon birth.

By having a delivery plan in place, both mom and baby are set up for success.

Using advanced imaging technology, we perform specialized fetal diagnostic tests to make or confirm a diagnosis. Depending on your baby's suspected fetal anomaly, you'll undergo a combination of:

  • Fetal MRI
  • Ultrasound
  • Amniocentesis
  • Diagnostic fetoscopy
  • Genetic testing
  • Fetal skin or muscle biopsy
  • Fetal blood sampling
  • Fetal echocardiogram

Yes, the fetal MRI is safe for you and your unborn baby. The MRI machine uses magnets to take pictures of the baby, not radiation. And because of our fetal MRI machine's advanced capabilities, we don't need to inject contrast to take the images.

Why do we have to do an ultrasound and an MRI? What is the difference?

  • An ultrasound is used to detect fetal congenital anomalies and evaluate the mother's uterine environment, including fluid levels and other concerns.
  • A fetal MRI is used to get a detailed image of the baby's anatomy.

We utilize an ultrasound and an MRI to get different perspectives of your baby and its environment. By obtaining multiple images, we can create a complete picture of your baby and the factors at play. The better the imaging, the better we can diagnose and treat a child's condition.

Our multidisciplinary team of maternal fetal medicine specialists, fetal cardiologists, radiologists, pediatric surgeons and subspecialists diagnose fetal conditions as quickly as possible – usually in a matter of hours.

This is because, on your first visit, you'll undergo extensive testing. Then, that same afternoon, you'll sit down with your care team to discuss the test results, diagnosis and treatment options.

This level of coordinated clinical collaboration matters when diagnosing a condition like twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), where time is critical. With TTTS, the sooner we're able to intervene, the better the chance of a positive outcome.

With a team of experts, state-of-the-art diagnostic testing, and advanced genetic testing and counseling, we're able to make timely and accurate diagnoses.

At the Colorado Fetal Care Center, we provide a clinical coordinator to guide you through the entire process, plus a specially trained clinical psychologist to provide emotional support and counsel.

Our fetal care center offers support services, including:

  • Genetic and prenatal counseling
  • Emotional support
  • Social work
  • Coping strategies
  • Decision-making skills
  • Risk assessment for postpartum mood or anxiety disorder
  • Palliative care
  • Bereavement support and services for parents if their baby may die before or shortly after birth

Common questions about coming to the Colorado Fetal Care Center

If you've been referred to our Center, you can rest assured that you're in the best of hands. Browse our fetal care center FAQs to prepare yourself for your first visit.

Fetal medicine FAQs: What to expect before the procedure

The days before undergoing surgery are often filled with anxiety. We're answering your most common fetal medicine questions so you can feel ready and reassured.

What to expect from recovery after the procedure

From recovery to relocation, we've answered your post-fetal care center FAQs so you can plan for the road ahead.

Nicole, treated for TTTS at Children's Colorado, sits with her school-age twin girls.

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