Frequently Asked Questions About Fetal Care

We know an unexpected fetal diagnosis can be scary and that you’ll likely have many questions. Below are some common questions we hear from patients regarding fetal medicine and care. We hope this helps provide you and your family some peace of mind before your first appointment.

What is maternal-fetal medicine?

Maternal-fetal medicine specialists, also referred to as perinatologists and high-risk pregnancy doctors, are obstetricians who’ve completed additional years of training to become experts in caring for moms and babies during high-risk pregnancies. They’ll help coordinate your treatment plan from diagnosis to ongoing care after delivery.

What is a fetal care center?

A fetal center brings together specialists from various health programs to provide accurate diagnosis, treatment and delivery planning to patients experiencing high-risk pregnancies or fetal complications. Healthcare management for each patient is communicated to the referring physician.

When should I go to a fetal care center?

Typically, you will be referred to an MFM specialist or fetal care center by your obstetrician if a fetal abnormality is detected during your ultrasound. However, you should consult an MFM specialist if you know you’re experiencing a high-risk pregnancy or are aware of a fetal condition that requires further treatment planning.

What is a high-risk pregnancy?

A pregnancy is classified as high-risk when it threatens the life or health of the mother or fetus. This can happen when a fetus develops an anomaly or condition in the womb, or when a pregnant person:

  • Gets sick during pregnancy
  • Has an existing chronic condition
  • Is carrying multiple fetuses
  • Exhibits one or more risk factors (obesity, advanced maternal age, etc.)

Treatment at The Fetal Care Center of Southern California

If you have a high-risk pregnancy and are looking for a fetal care center, here are some common questions to consider when making your decision.

What diagnostic screenings do you perform?

At the Fetal Care Center of Southern California, we perform the following diagnostic screenings to confirm the details of your baby’s condition:

  • Ultrafast fetal MRI with a board-certified pediatric radiologist
  • Fetal echocardiogram with a board-certified pediatric cardiologist
  • Fetal genetic testing, including blood tests, CVS and amniocentesis
  • Fetal ultrasound

What conditions do you treat?

Our center is built on a partnership between UCI and CHOC to bring together experts in maternal-fetal medicine and pediatrics to provide comprehensive care for you and your baby. The detailed list of conditions we treat can be found here.

How many appointments will I need?

While your total number of appointments will depend on the specifics of your baby’s condition, your initial appointment will include diagnosis confirmation and an initial consultation with all specialists involved in your treatment plan development. Learn more about what you can expect during your visit here.

Who determines my treatment plan?

You and your care team, including your specialists and nurse coordinator, will work together to form a treatment plan. The plan is relayed from our fetal care team to your obstetrician.

Can I still see my OB?

Yes. Once the plan of care for both you and your baby is outlined by our team of experts, a report detailing any prenatal interventions, treatment plans and safe delivery will be sent to your usual OB or MFM provider for implementation and continuity of care. We have the utmost respect for your relationship with your OB provider; whenever it is safe for you and your baby, we will work with the provider of your choosing.

Where will I deliver my baby?

Some babies may require a stay in the NICU or surgery following birth. In the instance that this care is not available at your delivery hospital, we will recommend a plan of action for ensuring those services are accessible to your baby after delivery.

Will my baby stay in the NICU?

Not all babies will be required to stay in a neonatal intensive care unit. The NICU is a special intensive unit for newborns who require around-the-clock care from a team of experts after being born.

What if my baby requires fetal surgery?

If your baby is diagnosed with a condition that requires fetal surgery, you will be referred to a hospital that can provide those treatment services.

Visiting The Fetal Care Center of Southern California

If you have an appointment at our fetal center, here are some questions to prepare for your visit.

What do I need to bring with me?

Please bring a copy of your photo ID, insurance information and any records not previously sent to us by your referring provider.

Who can I bring with me?

You can bring one support person with you.

Where do I park?

Parking is available in the garage located adjacent to the Commerce Tower building. Parking validation will be provided.

Will my insurance cover fetal care?

We will work with your provider to get the appropriate referrals and authorizations from your insurance company in order for you to be seen by our specialists.