Fetal Conditions We Treat

While most birth defects are best managed with medical and/or surgical treatment after birth, planning for delivery and first-rate post-natal care can greatly impact the diagnosis and survival of a sick infant.

Additionally, an increasing number of anatomic abnormalities can be corrected before birth to reduce some of the life-threatening or devastating consequences of the defect.

Our experienced team evaluates and treats the following conditions (click each condition for more information):

Abdominal Wall Defects

  • Gastroschisis
    A defect in the abdominal wall of the fetus through which intestines protrude.
  • Omphalocele
    A condition in which there is a defect in the anterior abdominal wall and internal organs (intestines, stomach, liver, bladder, etc.) protrude through the defect, but are contained in a sac.
  • Amniotic Band Syndrome
    Sheets or strands of the membranes surrounding the fetus may be wrapped around parts of the fetus, restricting its growth and development, and possibly leading to amputation. 

Brain Lesions

  • Anencephaly
  • Encephalocele - protusion of the brain of its coverings through the skull.
  • Holoprosencephaly
  • Hydranencephaly
  • Hydrocephaly
  • Septooptic Dysplasia - underdevelopment of the optic nerve and absence of the midline part of the brain.
  • Ventriculomegaly - a brain condition where the fluid filled spaces become dilated. 

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH)

A hole in the diaphragm allows passage of abdominal organs into the chest, which can be associated with small, poorly formed lungs and result in pulmonary hypoplasia after birth.

Craniofacial Anomalies

  • Cleft Lip
    A defect most often involving the upper lip that can occur in the midline or affect one or both sides.
  • Cleft Palate
    A defect in the bones that form the upper part of the mouth.
  • Giant neck masses
    Neck masses such as lymphangiomas and teratomas can be large and have the potential to obstruct the infant’s airway after birth. 
  • Micrognathia
    A defect in which the fetal chin is abnormally small. 

Duodenal and Intestinal Atresia

Blockage in the intestines beyond the stomach.

Esophageal Atresia with Tracheoesophageal Fistula

Blockage in the swallowing tube (esophagus) with or without an abnormal communication with the breathing tube (trachea).  This condition can result in polyhydramnios, or an elevated amniotic fluid volume.

Fetal Cardiac Conditions

  • Congenital Heart Block - A problem with the heart's electrical system that slows or disrupts the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat.
  • Congenital Heart Disease - Any structural or functional heart defect present before birth including:
    • Anomalous pulmonary venous return
    • Aortic stenosis
    • Atrioventricular canal
    • Double-outlet left ventricle
    • Double-outlet right ventricle
    • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
    • Isomerisims
    • Pulmonary stenosis
    • Tetralogy of Fallot
    • Transposition of the great arteries (TGA)
    • Ventriculo-septal defect

Fetal Cardiac Arrhythmias

Genetic Conditions
Genetic conditions, such as Down’s Syndrome, can be inherited or can be caused by new mutations.  We specialize in a wide array of genetic conditions and offer prenatal diagnosis with chorionic villous sampling in the first trimester or amniocentesis in later pregnancy.

Lung Lesions/CCAM

  • Fetal Hydrothorax
    Fetal hydrothorax is a condition in which fluid accumulates in the fetal chest, in the space between the lungs and the chest wall, resulting in poor lung development.
  • Congenital Cystic Adenomatous Malformation (CCAM)
    A congenital disorder of the lung where an entire section of the lung is replaced by a non-working growth, made up of arteries, veins, capillaries, or lymphatic vessels.
  • Bronchopulmonary Sequestration (BPS)
    Similar to CCAM in that a piece of tissue develops into lung tissue that fails to contribute to the respiration of the child. 

Maternal Immune Disorders Affecting the Fetus

  • Platelet Alloimmunization
    When the mother's platelets differ from her fetus', her defensive cells may create antibodies to fight against them, causing the fetus to suffer from periods of internal bleeding.  
  • Red Cell Alloimmunization
    A similar condition caused by the mother and fetus having different blood types from one another.

Multiple gestations and associated complications

Higher order multiples

Monochorionic Twins

  • Discordance for fetal anomalies:

    • Selective IUGR
      Occurs in monochorionic twins when one twin is significantly growth restricted while the other is normally grown.  If left untreated, death of the small twin can occur and can result in death or permanent brain damage of the larger  twin.
    • Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) 
      Occurs in up to 15% of monochorionic twins.  There is unbalanced blood flow from one twin (donor) to the other (recipient). If left untreated, pregnancy loss may occur from lack of adequate blood flow to the donor, too much flow to the recipient, or maternal complications associated with the excess fluid accumilation. 
    • Twin Reversed Arterial Perfusion
      In a monochorionic pregnancy, one twin forms normally while a second abnormal fetus forms without a heart.  The “acardiac” twin receives blood from the normal twin and this puts the normal twin at risk for heart failure and ultimately death. 
    • Spina Bifida
    • Non-immune Hydrops
    • Sacrococcygeal Teratoma
    • Skeletal Dysplasia
      Abnormalities in cartilage and bone growth that result in what is commonly reffered to as dwarfism.
    • Urinary Tract Obstruction
    • Bladder Outlet Obstruction
      Due to blockage, the fetus is unable to empty its bladder, resulting in a range of problems, including damage to the kidneys from back-pressure and under-development of the lungs due to lack of amniotic fluid.
    • Hydronephrosis
      When blockage in the fetal urinary system leads to swelling of urine collecting structures that can sometimes lead to long-term complications, including kidney failure.