Our expert level of care begins before your first visit to the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute. In advance of your arrival, we will send you a schedule detailing activities planned for your visit, which typically begins at SSM St. Mary’s Health Center in St. Louis. When you arrive, our nurse coordinator will gather your medical history and any information that is needed for our team of physicians. For your convenience, tests and consultations are scheduled in a single day, when possible. We will perform diagnostic tests to helps us learn more about you and your baby. Our team will review the test results and discuss them with you.
Diagnostic tests are designed to give our team more information about you and your baby. These tests allow you and our core team to create a treatment plan together that will deliver the best results for your baby. The tests include:
- Fetal MRI: This technology can pinpoint structural abnormalities and exclude other problems. You will be placed in an MRI machine that is capable of capturing images of your moving baby.
- Ultrasound: This high-resolution image allows evaluation of the fetus for any structural problems.
- Fetal echocardiogram: This procedure identifies heart defects and congenital heart disease. The test, which is not offered in many facilities, can determine if there is a problem with the baby’s heart as early as 20 weeks into the pregnancy.
In addition to these standard tests, additional tests may be performed if necessary, including:
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
- Fetal blood sampling
- Fetal skin/muscle biopsy
- Diagnostic fetoscopy
After the diagnostic tests are completed, we will review the results immediately and discuss treatment options available through the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute. Our core team includes a pediatric/fetal surgeon, maternal-fetal medicine specialist, nurse coordinator and geneticist. If surgery is required, it is often best performed after the baby’s birth. Sometimes, fetal intervention through minimally invasive procedures may be necessary to treat your baby before birth. In rare cases, open fetal surgery may be considered. Ultimately, the course of action for a treatment plan is a decision for you, your family and your team of physicians. We want to provide you with as much information as possible so you can make an informed choice.
As you consider your options, we are available 24 hours a day to answer questions and provide additional information. Follow-up questions which are important for your decision-making process should never go unasked. We are here to provide answers. Please do not hesitate to call us for further information. After consultation with our team, we will review all of the details with your obstetrician to ensure a seamless plan of action.
Families who have been in these life-altering situations can often provide comforting advice to those experiencing similar decisions. The St. Louis Fetal Care Institute can put you in touch with others who have faced challenges similar to yours.
If at any time you have questions about your diagnosis or treatment recommendations, you or your doctor may contact our staff on our 24-hour Patient Access Line: 314-268-4037 or toll-free 877-SSM-FETL (877-776-3385). We are happy to speak with you at any time to ensure you are comfortable with your treatment plan.
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