Why Choose Us
The Maternal, Fetal, Neonatal and Pediatric Experts You Need
- Caring for you and your baby during a complicated or high-risk pregnancy takes providers with a range of skills and knowledge. Our program brings together the experienced specialists you need, all in one place. We do all we can to make sure your care is well coordinated and as easy as possible for your family.
- Your care team is based on your unique needs.
- Fetal diagnosis experts give you the most accurate and complete information about your baby’s condition so you can prepare for your child’s needs and future needs.
- Maternal-fetal medicine specialists check to make sure both you and your baby are healthy during pregnancy. Our program partners with maternal-fetal medicine specialists from UW Medicine.
- Maternal-fetal surgeons from Seattle Children’s provide lifesaving treatments for babies before birth (in utero) that are not offered anywhere else in the Northwest.
- Fetal, neonatal and pediatric medical and surgical specialists advise you during pregnancy. If needed, we provide care before birth and during infancy and childhood. Your team may include specialists in cardiology and cardiac surgery, pediatric surgery, ear-nose-throat, genetics, neurodevelopmental, neurology and neurosurgery, nephrology, urology and other fields.
- A prenatal genetic counselor helps you explore your family’s health background, talks with you about genetic conditions, explains testing options, coordinates testing (if you want it), reviews test results and provides information, support and resources.
- A social worker provides emotional and practical support.
- Skilled teams, including neonatologists, in our Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) care for your newborn.
- As needed, your baby will also get care from Seattle Children’s experts in other areas of healthcare, like nutrition, feeding therapy, pediatric anesthesia, respiratory therapy, extracorporeal life support, physical therapy and others. All are trained in their specialty and in the unique needs of babies and families.
- To diagnose or rule out fetal conditions, we use the most advanced imaging studies, genetic testing (including amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling and fetal blood sampling) and genetic counseling. Our imaging techniques include ultrasound, 3-D imaging, fetal MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and fetal echocardiography as early as 14 weeks. We also perform embryoscopy, fetoscopy and fetal skin biopsies. Read more about fetal diagnosis.
- For conditions that need intervention or surgery before your baby is born, our experienced maternal-fetal surgeons offer a range of services. These include transfusions, laser procedures, radiofrequency ablation, bipolar cord coagulation, methods to drain or move fluid with a needle or shunt, fetoscopic surgery and others.
- We work with pregnancy care providers and pediatric subspecialists around the region. If you live outside the Seattle area, we also offer telemedicine visits to provide as much of your care as possible close to home.
Among the Nation’s Top Programs
- U.S. News & World Report has recognized Seattle Children’s as a top children’s hospital every year since it began ranking medical centers more than 30 years ago.
- For more than a decade, Seattle Children's has been nationally ranked in all 10 specialty areas that U.S. News & World Report evaluates, including neonatology, cardiology and heart surgery, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, pulmonary and urology.
- Our outcomes for maternal-fetal intervention and surgery and for babies who need surgery after birth are among the best in the nation year after year. See our outcomes for heart surgeries in newborns, single-ventricle heart surgeries, surgeries to repair congenital diaphragmatic hernia and treatment for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.
We’re Here When You Need Us
- When there’s a chance your developing baby has a medical problem, it’s important to get timely access to skilled, experienced doctors. We get you in for a visit promptly based on your situation.
- Before your first visit with us, a dedicated fetal coordinator reviews your referral to understand your health and your baby’s health. Then we design and schedule your first visit to match your needs.
- We have specialists available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for conditions that need care right away. For urgent health concerns, like some conditions that need maternal-fetal intervention or surgery, we typically speak with you by telephone the same day you or your referring doctor contacts us. Often, we see you in person within a day.
Step-by-Step Guidance From the Beginning
- At your first visit, you will have advanced imaging and meet with your care team to discuss the findings and what they mean.
- We will bring your team members together — at the same time in the same room — to make sure we understand how to take care of all your needs and wants. We take time to explain your child’s condition and answer all your questions. Together, we then build a care plan for you and your child.
- By the end of your first visit, our goal is to give you a complete understanding of your baby’s diagnosis and care so you can make informed choices that are right for your family.
- Some families need only 1 visit to confirm or rule out a diagnosis before returning to care with their pregnancy care provider. Many families have more visits with us to check their baby’s condition until birth and receive treatment before birth or after.
- For some conditions, surgery or other treatment during pregnancy may be an option. We provide many forms of maternal-fetal intervention and surgery. (If your baby needs surgery that cannot be done in the Seattle area, we help connect you to trusted colleagues at another center.)
- A nurse care coordinator partners with you throughout the whole process to help you move seamlessly from one step to the next with confidence.
- We work with your birth hospital to plan for a safe delivery and the care your baby will need. If your baby is likely to need complex care or surgery soon after birth, we arrange their transfer to Seattle Children’s.
- Our transport team includes doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists who are national leaders in moving fragile newborns between hospitals. They bring more than 500 critically ill babies to Seattle Children’s every year by ambulance, helicopter or airplane.
Learn more about your baby’s trip to Seattle Children’s if they need Critical Care Transport (Video. 5:10)
- In 2021, Seattle Children’s remodeled and expanded our Fetal Care and Treatment Center in the Springbrook Professional Center, a block from our main Seattle hospital campus. Many families come here for their first appointment with our team and for ongoing visits, if needed, during pregnancy. Many of our maternal-fetal intervention procedures take place in this clinic setting too.
- In the Fetal Care and Treatment Center, we have the advanced technology to provide the best care for you and your baby. At the same time, we focused on making the space comfortable, calming and warm. New consultation rooms mean you can stay in 1 place for your consultation. We also added exam rooms to serve more families.
- For some maternal-fetal intervention procedures, an operating room is the safest place to provide care. Seattle Children’s specialists do these procedures in operating rooms at UW Medical Center–Montlake, less than 1 mile from Springbrook.
- In some cases, Seattle Children’s specialists do maternal-fetal intervention and surgery at UW Medical Center–Montlake, rather than our clinic in Springbrook Professional Center. We choose this option when it is the safest way to provide the care that is right for your family. Learn more about delivering at UW Medicine.
- Based on your and your baby’s medical needs, we may recommend you deliver at UW Medical Center–Montlake. This way your baby can be quickly transferred to Seattle Children’s, less than 1 mile away, by our highly skilled neonatal transport team.
- Neonatologists and maternal-fetal medicine specialists care for our patients at both Seattle Children’s and UW Medical Center–Montlake. Both you and your baby are cared for before, during and after delivery.
- UW Medical Center–Montlake delivers babies with complex needs — including babies with a serious fetal diagnosis — every day. They have the experience to handle anything that arises.
- Teams at both hospitals talk often about your care. Everything is designed to make the experience as smooth, safe and seamless as it can be for your baby and your family.
- After delivery, we give you time with your baby whenever possible before we transfer them to Seattle Children’s. We know how important these early moments of connection can be.
- UW Medical Center–Montlake Lactation Services provides support so, if you are able and would like, you can pump and store breastmilk for your baby.
- Another parent or caregiver can come to Seattle Children’s with your baby right away after the baby is born. Often, a parent who gave birth is ready to leave the hospital and joins the baby at Seattle Children’s within a couple of hours (it can be a few days after a cesarean section). Phone and video chats are important ways to connect during any time you might be in separate places.
Support for Your Whole Family
- We offer monthly tours of Seattle Children’s to help you prepare for your newborn’s care and learn more about the services and support we provide.
- Our doctors, nurses and social workers help your family through the challenges of your child’s condition. You are not alone. We link you with community resources and support groups. We can also connect you with other families who have been through a similar journey.
- While your newborn is in the hospital, if you would like, our lactation consultants can help you with breastfeeding or pumping.
- Families come to us from around the Northwest and beyond. Our social workers and Guest Services staff have a great deal of experience helping with housing and transportation in the Seattle area, financial counseling, school for siblings, interpreter services, spiritual care and more. Read about our services for patients and families.
- As your child grows, we have programs for comprehensive care through childhood. Examples are our Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Program, Cardiac Genetics Program, Surgery Pulmonary Follow-Up Clinic, Spina Bifida Clinic, Intestinal Rehabilitation Program and Single Ventricle Heart Program.
Research to Improve Care
- Members of Seattle Children’s Fetal Care and Treatment Center team do research to better understand prenatal conditions. We work to advance standards of care and offer hope to families everywhere.
- Drs. Bettina Paek and Martin Walker have led or taken part in many research projects to learn more about the best ways to detect a wide range of conditions and treat them before your baby is born.
- Our newborn care specialists lead important research to improve the outcome for babies born very early or with complex conditions. Read Pushing Limits, Saving Lives.
- Research in the Fetal Care and Treatment Center includes a multicenter clinical trial related to heart damage (fetal heart block) in babies of pregnant patients with immune system disorders (systemic lupus erythematosus or Sjögren syndrome).
- Our cardiologists are studying how babies respond if they have transposition of the great arteries and their moms are put on oxygen before the babies are born. The goal is to better predict whether babies need treatment quickly right after birth or if they can safely stay with mom longer.
- Drs. Kim Riehle and Bhawna Arya are studying how to better predict the severity of congenital diaphragmatic hernia to plan the care these babies need.
- Dr. Sunny Juul leads national studies of how to protect the brains of babies who were born very early or did not get enough oxygen during birth. She also works to find the safest, most effective ways to reduce stress in the NICU and to ease pain. Learn more about Seattle Children’s neonatology research.
- We also do research on ways we can best support families to improve resilience and achieve even better outcomes for children.
“Dr. Riehle was one of the first people to make me feel like a mom. She made me feel confident in my instincts, strong in my convictions, and reminded me that this is my child and I could absolutely handle anything for Summer.”
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