Fetal Care Program
Fetal Care Program
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
About the Fetal Care Program
Care During COVID-19
Our dedicated physicians, nurses and staff are committed to providing the best possible care for children. We have taken unprecedented steps to ensure office visits and procedures are welcoming and safe. Your child’s health and safety is our top priority. Learn more.
Our expert teams of obstetricians, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, geneticists, pediatricians, neonatologists, pediatric surgeons, radiologists and social workers work together to monitor complicated pregnancies, provide each mother and baby with individualized care and help families to navigate each step of the journey.
The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the Pediatric specialists at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children offer a wide variety of options for prenatal testing and monitoring of high-risk pregnancies. This may include:
- Screening and testing for genetic syndromes
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS), amniocentesis and other diagnostic procedures
- Specialized ultrasound examinations to detect fetal abnormalities, monitor fetal growth and assess fetal well-being
- Fetal echocardiogram
- Fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
If we detect a structural abnormality or there is concern about a genetic syndrome, we work with the family to help them understand the potential implications of these findings for the pregnancy and the health of the mother and baby. Based on the family’s preferences and priorities, we develop a personalized treatment plan.
We understand the fear and uncertainty that can come from an unexpected diagnosis, so counseling, education and emotional support are integral components of our approach. Patients are encouraged to be active members of their care team, and our physicians, nurses and genetic counselors are available to answer questions or discuss the latest innovations in research and treatment.
Exceptional Fetal and Newborn Care
If prenatal testing detects an issue that is expected to affect the baby’s health, specialists at Mass General and MGHfC will create a coordinated care plan that provides optimal support and interventions for women and families both before and after the baby’s birth.
Depending on the particular diagnosis, you and your baby’s care will be overseen and coordinated by experts in obstetrics, maternal-fetal medicine, neonatology, general and thoracic pediatric surgery, cardiology, orthopaedics, neurosurgery, radiology, cleft lip and palate, ear nose and throat, plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, urology, nephrology, newborn intensive care, pediatric intensive care, genetic counselors, genetics, social work and palliative care.
Conditions and Treatments
Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery
The pediatric surgery team at MGHfC works closely with maternal-fetal and neonatal specialists to provide state-of-the-art care for babies and children with a wide spectrum of congenital anomalies, including congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), abdominal wall defects (gastroschisis, omphalocele), bowel diseases including atresias and duplications, tumors, lung diseases and other rare diseases of the newborn. For babies with heart and lung disease, the surgical team provides newborn life support [extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)]. Our pediatric surgeons employ the latest surgical knowledge and techniques in the care of their pediatric patients.
Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery
Our pediatric orthopaedic doctors provide advanced treatment for conditions like clubfoot, hip dysplasia and congenital musculoskeletal deformities. They collaborate closely with the pediatric surgery service and the pediatric medicine service to provide coordinated, high-quality care for our youngest patients.
The pediatric neurosurgery service at MGHfC diagnoses and treats all neurosurgical conditions of infants, children and adolescents, with special expertise in the management of congenital anomalies of the spine and brain such as Chiari malformations, myelomeningocele, tethered spinal cord, hydrocephalus, spinal cord disorders, ventriculomegaly and craniosynostosis.
Our pediatric neurologists are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric neurological disorders and diseases from the common to the complex. Each one of our pediatric neurologist specialized in certain conditions and diseases, so each pediatric patient is referred to their perfect match. They work closely with the pediatric services at MGHfC to provide coordinated high quality care that best serves each child’s needs.
The pediatric cardiology program at MGHfC provides expert diagnostic, treatment and long-term follow-up care for infants, children and adolescents with all types of congenital and acquired cardiac conditions including atrial septal defect (ASD), Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), and ventricular septal defect (VSD). We have particular expertise in fetal and postnatal echocardiography, prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease and minimally invasive procedures including percutaneous transcatheter procedures. In partnership with specialists at Mass General, we provide seamless continuing care of congenital heart diseases into adulthood.
Specialty surgical care of congenital urologic conditions at MGHfC is provided by pediatric urologists who have extensive experience in the care of babies and children with a broad scope of urologic conditions including hydronephrosis, ureteropelvic junction obstruction, hypospadias and ambiguous genitalia.
Cleft Lip and Craniofacial Clinic
The Cleft Lip and Craniofacial Clinic at MGHfC along with Shriners Hospital for Children provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to care for children with a cleft or craniofacial disorder. Specialists from plastic surgery; ear, nose and throat surgery; oral and maxillofacial surgery; speech pathology; dentistry and others work to create a custom treatment plan individualized to provide each child the best chance for optimal appearance, speech, hearing, vision and dentition, and a positive self-image.
Our radiologists have subspecialty expertise in pediatric imaging and perform advanced fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) when needed to provide highly accurate diagnoses of congenital anomalies without any radiation exposure to mother or child. In addition, pediatric imaging is an integral part of the ongoing medical care that MGHfC provides for babies after they are born, through state-of-the-art technologies including ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) and MRI to visualize pediatric diseases and assess response to treatment.
Patty Ribakoff Newborn Intensive Care Unit
As one of the most advanced and family-focused neonatal intensive care units (NICU) in New England, we provide expert care to critically ill babies born at Mass General and across the region. It is designated a Level III nursery by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, providing the highest level of care for premature and critically ill infants using the most advanced technological and therapeutic resources available. The neonatology team is led by neonatologists and includes experienced neonatal nurses, nurse practitioners, pediatricians, respiratory therapists, lactation consultants, nutritionists and specially trained social workers. The MGHfC NICU prioritizes family-centered care. Parents are welcome in the unit at any time and a dedicated parent space at each infant’s bedside allows parents to remain with their infant throughout treatment. We believe parents are a crucial element of their baby’s care team and encourage them to participate in medical rounds.
Care for the Whole Family
A dedicated group of obstetric and surgical nurses provides one-on-one assistance with navigating the health care setting from diagnosis through birth and ongoing treatment. Our nurses and nurse coordinator are available throughout pregnancy to assist in consolidating appointments, meeting the appropriate providers and organizing facility tours. After delivery, they will help to provide a seamless transition to pediatric care.
Genetic counselors are providers who are trained in both genetics and counseling. When an ultrasound shows that your baby has an anomaly, our genetic counselors will help guide the family through the process of learning about the possible reasons for the anomaly and review any testing options that might be available to learn more information about the health of your pregnancy, as well as the severity of the problem. The genetic counseling team works to ensure each family has a good understanding of the diagnosis, including its cause, its symptoms, and what the chances are that other family members of future children might have the same condition. We also offer families emotional support and can introduce families to additional resources such as support groups or other families who have dealt with a similar diagnosis in pregnancy.
Obstetric and Pediatric Social Work
Obstetric social workers assist new mothers and their families from the beginning of pregnancy until after delivery. Your family’s care then can be transferred to a pediatric social worker for continued support throughout your baby’s life. Our social workers are master’s level-prepared mental health clinicians who help with the transition to parenthood and identify resources at MGHfC, Mass General and within the community to support our patients.
Newborn Developmental Follow-Up Clinic
The Newborn Developmental Follow-Up Clinic at MGHfC provides comprehensive evaluation and follow-up services for at-risk infants and toddlers from birth to two years. Infants cared for at this clinic include babies who were born premature, had serious medical problems or were born with congenital anomalies. The clinic provides important services to help families and community-based pediatricians address issues of growth and development of high-risk patients. Neonatal specialists at the clinic aid in the early identification of potential medical, neurological, developmental and nutritional issues, and guide families and primary care providers to specific services as needed.
Pediatric Palliative Care
Pediatric palliative care is an interdisciplinary service that provides an additional layer of healing and support for children and families when a child faces a serious disease or lifespan-limiting condition. We focus on maximizing a child’s quality of life, providing relief from pain, symptoms and stress, smoothing transitions of care, coordinating communication and improving a family’s experience of care.
Patient StoriesView the full collection of patient stories from across MGHfC.
Ingrid’s story: A multidisciplinary dress rehearsal helps baby and family thrive after high-risk surgery
After discovering a mass on baby Ingrid’s neck during an ultrasound and learning that she would need surgery immediate after birth, the Ramos family connected with the Fetal Care Program at MGHfC. There, a team of providers crafted a plan for treatment before, during, and after delivery. Their response provided Ingrid with the complex care she needed. Now, she breathes freely and thrives as a healthy baby.
Beau’s story: A true partnership in care helps baby thrive after cleft lip and palate surgery
At Sarah Mannion’s 19-week ultrasound, doctors at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) discovered that her son, Beau, had a cleft lip and palate. Initially feeling lost and uncertain, the Mannions were welcomed into the Fetal Care Program and the Cleft and Craniofacial Center, where Beau learned to thrive after surgery and multidisciplinary care.
Grayson's story: Hurdle by hurdle, toddler reaches the finish line with family-centered care
In 2017, Ashley McAlpine and her husband, Garret, went to her 20-week ultrasound. It was supposed to be an exciting appointment to find out their baby’s sex, but it quickly plunged into uncertain territory. Doctors diagnosed the McAlpine’s baby boy with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).
Michael's story: Complex treatment for duodenal atresia forges path for toddler to thrive
When Michael was diagnosed with a "double bubble" at his mother's 24-week ultrasound, the Fetal Care program, led by Karen Parsons, RN, helped Michael's family navigate a complex course of treatment through his birth, treatment in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and surgery.
Meet the Team
Jaclyn McGowan, NP
- Nurse Practitioner, Fetal Care Program
Karen Parsons, RN
- Registered Nurse, Fetal Care Program
Associate Director for Neonatology, Fetal Care Program
Phyllis Pollack, MDPediatric Cardiology Specialist
Cleft Lip and Palate
Rebecca Baars, MS, CCC-SLP
Lara Hirner, MS, CCC-SLP
Sarah Sally, MS, CCC-SLP
Jessica Sorbo, MS, CCC-SLP
- Attending physician, Division of Medical Genetics and Metabolism
- Emily Collins
- Jessica Feldman
- Elizabeth Knorr
- Chelsea Mandigo
- Massachusetts Eye and Ear Director, Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology
Brittany Kelly, NP
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
- Chief, Pediatric Surgery
- Co-Director, Pediatric Neurogastroenterology and Motility Program
- Instructor, Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Pediatric Surgery
“We felt so supported and cared for right from that first phone call.
It was almost like we already trusted that we were with the right people to do whatever was needed for Ingrid and for our family.” – Rachael Smith Ramos, mother of Ingrid