Fetal Care Center: Why choose us?

Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Saint Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University physicians work with referring providers across the region to deliver a level of extraordinary care that is only offered by very few places across the country. We offer family-focused care to help you and your unborn baby stay as healthy as possible. A team of maternal, fetal and pediatric specialists are beside you through a high-risk pregnancy, delivery and beyond, providing the tests, treatments and support you need.   

When you come to the Fetal Care Center, you benefit from:

  • Integrated care for mom and baby: We’re the only medical center in St. Louis offering the highest level of specialized mom and baby care in a single location. Our birthing suites and mother-baby rooms connect to our Level IV newborn intensive care unit (NICU), so you are close by if your baby needs special care after delivery. 

  • Specialized fetal surgeries: We’re one of the few medical centers in the country providing complex fetal surgeries and interventions for rare fetal conditions. Our highly skilled fetal and pediatric surgeons perform these procedures while your baby is still in the womb. 

  • Expertise in follow-up care: Some babies have health needs that we can’t treat until after they’re born. If this happens, we develop a care plan during pregnancy, ensuring your baby receives the best care immediately after delivery. 

  • Advanced diagnostic tools: Our specialists perform thousands of high-risk pregnancy tests each year to diagnose fetal conditions quickly and accurately. Our maternal-fetal medicine specialists are present during your ultrasounds, so you receive fast, accurate information about your unborn baby’s condition.

  • Heart care: Our fetal and pediatric cardiologists at the Fetal Heart Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital provide exceptional care for babies with heart defects. Our heart specialists excel at diagnosing and treating heart problems.

  • Medical transportation: You may go into labor outside the St. Louis metropolitan area and need specialized care. If this happens, our maternal-fetal transport team can take you to the Women & Infants Center, a partnership between Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Should you deliver elsewhere, our newborn transport team can safely bring your baby here.

  • Collaborative approach: Specialists and sub-specialists across multiple disciplines work together to coordinate your care, so you can focus on staying well. Maternal-fetal medicine specialists collaborate with fetal surgeons, neonatologists, genetic counselors, specialized radiologists and other providers. Our team approach gives you and your baby the best possible outcome. 

Fetal Care Center Story

Amanda and Kyle were eagerly awaiting their third child, Barrett, when Amanda’s 20-week ultrasound revealed her baby had CDH, congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

Meet Barret
What to expect at the Fetal Care Center

Finding out your baby has a medical condition can be scary and overwhelming. But you won’t be alone – the region’s leading specialists are beside you for guidance and support at every step.

At our Fetal Care Center, a nurse coordinator guides you along the journey, helping to schedule appointments, answer your questions and liaises with other providers. You may undergo tests and meet with maternal-fetal medicine specialists, neonatologists and pediatric specialists. Neonatologists and pediatric specialists may care for your baby in the NICU after delivery. Learn more about newborn medicine. 

Classes & Events
Fetal conditions

Fetal conditions occur as your unborn baby develops in your uterus. Some fetal conditions are genetic — inherited from a parent. Most fetal conditions occur for no known reason. 

Fetal conditions we treat include: 

  • Agenesis of the corpus callosum
    The nerve fibers that help the right and left sides of the brain communicate are missing in some babies.
  • Amniotic band syndrome
    The lining of the amniotic sac tears, causing strands of tissue to wrap around your unborn baby.
  • Bladder outlet obstruction
    A blockage in the urethra causes urine to back up in the bladder, increasing the risk for lung and kidney problems.
  • Bronchopulmonary sequestration
    Abnormal tissue, or a cyst, develops inside or outside an unborn baby's lung.
  • Cleft lip and cleft palate
    The upper lip or palate (the roof of the mouth) does not fuse properly during fetal development. These babies are born with an opening, or cleft, in the upper lip, palate or both.
  • Clubfoot and vertical talus
    Clubfoot is a shorter-than-normal tendon connecting the foot and leg. Vertical talus is an improperly positioned bone connecting the foot and leg.
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
    Intestines poke through an abnormal opening in the diaphragm and cause problems with lung development.
  • Congenital pulmonary airway malformation
    A mass of tissue develops inside one lung.
  • Fetal gastroschisis
    Improperly formed abdominal muscles create an opening that allows intestines to push through.
  • Fetal hydronephrosis
    Urine backing up into the kidneys causes kidney swelling.
  • Hydrocephalus
    Fluid builds up in an unborn baby's brain and creates pressure inside their head.
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
    The left side of the heart is too small and weak to pump enough blood through the body.
  • Omphalocele
    A defect in the abdominal wall allows intestines to push through an opening in the belly button.
  • Pediatric congenital heart disease
    Problems with the structure or function of a baby's heart can affect the way the heart pumps blood out to the rest of the body.
  • Prune belly syndrome
    Some unborn babies have abnormalities that affect the abdominal muscles, genitals and bladder.
  • Sacrococcygeal teratoma
    A tumor can develop on an unborn baby's tailbone.
  • Selective intrauterine growth restriction (sIUGR)
    sIUGR occurs when twins don't share the placenta equally, so one baby doesn't grow properly.
  • Spina bifida or Myelomeningocele
    Part of an unborn baby’s neural tube doesn’t close properly during development, so the spinal cord is vulnerable to damage.
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
    A combination of four heart anomalies affects the heart's structure and blood flow to the lungs.
  • Transposition of the great arteries
    The two major blood vessels that carry blood out of the heart are transposed, or switched.
  • Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS)
    TTTS occurs when identical twins who share a placenta and blood vessels have unequal blood flow.
Fetal surgery

We have the expertise and technology to identify and treat fetal problems as early as possible. We are also one of only a few centers in the nation that performs complex fetal surgeries. This means we perform surgery on your baby in the womb.

Surgeons at the Fetal Care Center use minimally invasive procedures during fetal surgeries when possible. These procedures require smaller incisions and have less risk of complications for you and your unborn baby.

If your child needs treatment after they’re born, we coordinate your care with pediatric surgeons at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.


Schedule your appointment

Call (314) 362-9355 or (800) 392-0936 to schedule your appointment with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist. 

Sign up for our newsletter and take charge of your whole health.

Stay ahead of the curve with exclusive content from BJC's health care professionals, delivered right to your inbox.