The Fetal Center at Riley Children’s Health provides evaluation and counseling for expectant mothers with high-risk fetal conditions. Our center offers comprehensive fetal care and support before birth, through delivery and after your child is born.
Highly skilled specialists
Doctors from Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Neonatology work together alongside a team of highly skilled and nationally ranked pediatric specialists.
Fetal heart expertise
We work closely with the Riley Heart Center to provide fetal cardiology for fetal heart conditions such as congenital heart disease.
What to Expect
What to Expect
Our team's goal is to thoroughly evaluate you and your baby soon after a referral is made. Before your appointment, a Fetal Care Coordinator will contact you to:
- Explain your day of testing and evaluation
- Give information about your appointment times and locations
- Answer any questions you have about your day at Riley Children’s
- Provide brochures and maps to guide you through the day
Your Fetal Care Coordinator will always be available to answer questions or address any concerns you may have.
Your Visit to the Fetal Center
Your first visit to the Fetal Center will include diagnostic testing and evaluation. Feel free to bring a friend or family member for support.
Our evaluation starts with an ultrasound performed by our team. Depending on the suspected diagnosis, more imaging may be needed. Additional testing may include fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) read by a specialty-trained fetal radiologist or a fetal echocardiogram performed by our fetal cardiology program. Other specialists may also meet with you, depending on your baby's needs.
For your convenience, you will do all your testing and doctor visits on the same day at Riley Children’s.
Once the diagnostic tests are complete, the team will meet with you and your family. This team will include a maternal-fetal medicine doctor, a neonatologist, and other specialists such as fetal interventionalists. They will share your testing results, discuss the diagnosis in detail, explain your baby's long-term outcomes and provide a collaborative plan for you and your baby’s care through the remainder of the pregnancy, delivery and after birth.
Riley Children's has a fetal care conference that brings together more than 50 of our doctors from across the hospital to consult and recommend treatment plans for families. This meeting allows your baby's care and treatment plan to be understood and managed with all your needs in mind – medical, social and financial.
You will receive a packet with information about the diagnosis to take home. Additionally, your Fetal Care Coordinator will remain available for questions after your appointment, including connecting you to care team members to have your questions answered.
While a visit to the Fetal Center may seem overwhelming, we are a committed partner. If you would like to speak with families that have received treatment through the Fetal Center, we can help connect you with them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
When and why would I be seen by the Fetal Center?
If your baby is found to have a high-risk fetal condition, the Fetal Center will coordinate any additional testing and consultation with multiple specialists to provide a clear picture of your situation.
What is a high-risk fetal condition?
A high-risk fetal condition is a complication in your unborn baby that may pose a risk to your pregnancy. A few high-risk conditions include a birth defect or genetic condition in the fetus, pregnancies with more than one fetus (twins or triplets), preeclampsia, or poor growth in the fetus.
What is fetal surgery?
While most fetal conditions are managed through noninvasive treatments, some conditions may require fetal surgery. At Riley Children’s, we offer fetal surgery with the latest fetal interventions and procedures performed by fetal interventionalists in our Maternity Tower at Riley Hospital for Children.
Fetal surgery aims to repair a fetal condition while your baby is still in the womb. These procedures are not only seen as fetal interventions, but as maternal-fetal interventions. We are focused on both the baby as well as your safety before, during and after the procedure – and leading-up to delivery.
All procedures are supported by a care team that is available 24/7. Our highly skilled team is the only in Indiana performing these complex, delicate procedures. Our goal is to improve your baby’s chance of survival. The fetal interventions we offer include:
- Selective fetoscopic laser photocoagulation (SFLP)
- Vesico-amniotic and thoracic-amniotic shunts
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Amniotic band release
- Fetal blood sampling or PUBS
What is a fetal interventionalist?
A fetal interventionalist is a maternal-fetal medicine doctor with specialized training in surgical interventions to treat life-threatening birth defects. Our highly skilled fetal interventionalists at Riley Children’s lead many of these procedures.
Will my baby be delivered at Riley Children’s?
At our fetal care conference, our team will discuss delivery recommendations to safely care for both you and your baby. This may include delivery at the Maternity Tower or delivery at your home hospital. Our care team will present your delivery plan options and coordinate care after childbirth.
Explain more about fetal care coordination.
The Fetal Center has multiple fetal care coordinators that provide support for you and your family during pregnancy. We understand that health concerns can be stressful and we are focused on delivering compassionate, personalized care. This may include answering your many questions, taking the time to review the diagnosis together, or checking-in with you after appointments.
It could also include introducing you to our perinatal palliative care team for birth planning for babies that do not have a survivable condition. This team provides comprehensive support, decision making and memory making at and after delivery. All are focused on making this time with your baby meaningful for your family.
How do I request an appointment?
If you have been told during your pregnancy that your baby has a congenital birth defect, your provider may send a referral to our center. Once received, our team will contact you soon to schedule your appointment and answer any questions. Patients may also refer themselves by calling 317.948.5077.
What childbirth education is available?
To help prepare for the birth of your child, we offer a variety of classes, workshops, and support groups about caring for newborns, breastfeeding and more. Explore the schedule of current programs available online and in-person near you.
Conditions & Services
The links below provide more specific information about some, but not all, of the conditions we treat.
We offer a number of different Fetal Center services. Below are some, but not all, of the services that we provide.
The Fetal Center team includes but is not limited to fetal and pediatric radiologists, fetal interventionalists, cardiologists, urologists, neurologists and neurosurgeons, genetic counselors, pediatric surgeons, otolaryngologists and more. To contact the Fetal Center, call 317.948.5077. Our core team includes the following providers:
Neonatal - Perinatal Medicine
Obstetrics & Gynecology, Maternal & Fetal Medicine
The Fetal Center at Riley has curated relevant resources from other websites and provided links with brief descriptions of the information that is available.
Understanding that teamwork, expertise and innovation best support patients, the Fetal Center brings together dozens of subspecialties to collaborate and develop care plans. Our comprehensive care includes but is not limited to the following departments.
“We always said if we made it to the NICU, we’d be happiest parents here,” said Dustin Lower, as he looked over at his baby. This family faced many uncertain weeks leading up to the birth of their...Continue reading
Rebekah and Daniel Koehn are now home with their five month old twins after navigating a journey with twin to twin transfusion syndrome, also known as TTTS. The condition can threaten the lives of...Continue reading
Riley MFM doctor discusses placenta accreta spectrum, a potentially life-threatening pregnancy complication
Riley Maternal Fetal Medicine physician Dr. Hiba Mustafa discussed placenta accreta spectrum during an Instagram live. What does this mean for a patient? How is baby affected? She explains how the...Continue reading
Hayleigh and Rachel Koehn are tiny miracles who survived a rare complication called Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, thanks to fetal intervention surgery at Riley.Continue reading
Indiana woman’s unborn son required three intra-uterine blood transfusions over several weeks before he was safely delivered at Riley this week.Continue reading
Patients in the Riley Fetal Center spend a lot of time going to appointments due to complications during pregnancy. Courtney Espinosa, a family support coordinator with the NICU Nest team, wanted to help create something for these families to do during their long days in the clinic that would bring some positivity to a stressful experience. So, she set up a pregnancy milestone photo booth in one of the private waiting rooms. Fetal center patients may miss out on things like maternity photos due to preterm deliveries. This new photo area gives them a chance to capture the progression of a pregnancy even between appointments.Continue reading
To bring joy to patients, the Fetal Center creates heartbeat recordings for families.Continue reading
Baby Finn was born with multiple heart defects, but he is thriving now, thanks to early intervention and specialized care.Continue reading
High-resolution fetal MRI allows doctors at the Riley Children's Health Fetal Center to analyze the anatomy and function of vital organs.Continue reading
The Fetal Center provides care for women going through high-risk pregnancies.Continue reading
For Health Professionals
Refer A Patient
The Fetal Center at Riley Children's team works closely with referring doctors of high-risk pregnant women. We make the referral process smooth and keep you informed about your patient’s progress and findings from our center.Refer A Patient
Research & Clinical Trials
Many of the neonatology and maternal fetal medicine specialists who see patients in our program are also involved in various research studies through our partnership with the Indiana University School of Medicine, keeping us on the leading edge of what’s coming next in maternal and fetal medicine.
To improve pregnancy outcomes for both mother and babies, team members within the Fetal Center often lead innovative research and discovery projects that aim to enhance clinical care for high-risk pregnancies. Additionally, the Fetal Center is a member of the North American Fetal Therapy Network (NAFTnet), a group of hospitals with expertise in fetal diagnosis and intervention. As a member, our center is part of cutting-edge research in the field of fetal surgery.