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 Fetal Treatment Program

The Fetal Treatment Program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center provides the most advanced level of personalized health care before birth that is available, to both a mother and her developing baby. The majority of our fetal care plans involve diagnosis, counseling, education, emotional support and planning for the delivery and specialized care that will be needed after birth.

Only a few pregnancies require medical or surgical treatments before delivery. For those rare occurrences, we evaluate and treat a developing fetus in the womb to correct problems before birth, with the goal of helping the baby not just in the early stages of life, but also throughout the baby’s fetal development. Goals of fetal therapy are to correct complications that could form the basis of diseases that may develop later in life, including high blood pressure and heart disease.

Our specialists believe that health care for a baby begins before birth. By intervening during pregnancy, we can treat fetal disease.

Our maternal fetal medicine physicians work with you and your primary obstetrician/gynecologist. We offer the most advanced maternal fetal screenings and diagnostic procedures to verify and diagnose any abnormality, and then provide the most comprehensive fetal treatment options available. Your primary Ob/Gyn may continue to provide your routine care throughout your pregnancy.

Our Patients 

By intervening before, during or immediately after birth, fetal abnormalities can often be identified and successfully treated early. Patients in our care have been diagnosed with a pregnancy complication of the fetus, including such things as:

  • Abdominal wall defects
  • Blood cell incompatibility between mother and baby
  • Cleft lip and/or palate
  • Chromosome abnormalities
  • Excess fluid in one or more area
  • Heart defects
  • Diaphragmatic hernia
  • Low red blood cell (fetal anemia) or platelet count
  • Lung defects
  • Neural tube defects (spina bifida)
  • Neurological defects
  • Orthopaedic problems (club foot)
  • Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome
  • Urologic defects

We understand that the uncertainty surrounding the diagnosis of a developmental abnormality in your baby can be extremely confusing and distressing. Our team of experienced perinatologists, sonographers, genetic counselors and nurses will provide you with expert, compassionate care that is co-managed with your doctor. A dedicated fetal treatment nurse will work closely with you to help identify and meet your needs as your prepare for your baby’s birth.

Every patient in the Fetal Treatment Program receives a personalized, compassionate and complete plan of care from diagnosis to delivery. We coordinate all screenings and diagnostic procedures and work with your primary Ob/Gyn to develop a birthing plan. Additionally, in advance of delivery, we will coordinate the plan for your baby’s care with our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the necessary pediatric specialists.

Why Choose Ohio State?

Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center’s Fetal Treatment Program is the longest-standing fetal care center in the area, established in 1992. As an academic medical center, we offer our patients innovative research, a great depth of medical expertise and the newest technologies and fetal treatment techniques available. Being part of Ohio State gives us access to resources, equipment and support, such as the region’s only Prenatal Reference Laboratory, that make certain treatments possible only here.

Our physicians are actively involved in clinical research and have participated in the development and testing of many of the fetal and diagnostic procedures and treatments we offer. Research studies in fetal treatment for certain conditions are available for patient participation.

We are one of only 20 medical centers in the United States and Canada that are a member of the North American Fetal Therapy Network (NAFTNet). Members of this association have established expertise in fetal surgery and other forms of care for complex disorders of the fetus. We are the only NAFTNet member in the central Ohio area.

Additionally, we are a member of the Ohio Fetal Medicine Collaborative, a joint program between local hospitals and Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Our Services

We offer a variety of advanced fetal treatment procedures for pregnancy complications:

Alloimmunization — Treatment for blood incompatibility between mother and baby.

Amniocentesis/chorionic villus sampling ​— A procedure to obtain a sample of amniotic fluid or cells from the fetus to test for abnormalities.

Cordocentesis — A fetal blood sample taken from the umbilical cord.

Ex Utero Intrapartum Treatment (EXIT) Deliveries — A special delivery that gives pediatricians time to establish an airway in an infant with a possible airway obstruction prior to cutting the umbilical cord, allowing the placenta to continue to oxygenate the baby.

Fetal Cystocentesis, Thoracentesis or Taracentesis — A procedure to remove abnormal fluid collections in the fetus.

Fetal Shunt Placements — Insertion of a soft tube into the fetus to drain fluid.

Intrauterine Transfusions — We are one of the leading institutions in North America in providing blood transfusions to the fetus through the vein in the umbilical cord.

Radiofrequency Ablation — The use of radiofrequency energy to remove circulation to harmful growths or tumors in a fetus.

Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Therapy — Treatments, including amnioreduction and laser photocoagulation, used to correct the imbalance of placental blood-sharing between identical twins. Laser therapy is only available at a few select centers in the United States and Canada. This specialized laser therapy is available at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center.

Our Experts

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If you have questions about the Fetal Treatment Program, contact Karen Rossi, RN, program nurse manager, at 614-293-8083 or by e-mail at Karen.Rossi@osumc.edu

Our Location

Martha Morehouse Medical Plaza

2050 Kenny Road, 5th Floor Tower

Columbus, OH 43221​​​​​

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