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Health Information Article about the Fetal and Neonatal Medicine Program at Rush University Medical Center

All Eyes on Baby

Finding out you’re pregnant can be the happiest day of your life. But learning that your baby could be born with health problems could be the scariest. You need clear information and accurate diagnosis as quickly as possible. You want the best care available, before and after your baby is born.

The Fetal and Neonatal Medicine Program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, can help. Specialists work with you as a team to guide you through your pregnancy and provide an individualized treatment plan for you and your child. At Rush, you and your family will always be part of the plan.

When a baby is at risk

Some women know their pregnancy risks from the start. For example, expectant mothers with diabetes or high blood pressure often require special care. And some families know they have a history of birth defects, such as spina bifida or cystic fibrosis.

Other conditions can arise during the antenatal period, which is the time between conception and birth of the baby. Exposure to toxic substances can cause problems. Some medications can be dangerous, and certain infections, such as German measles, can also harm an unborn baby.

For most birth defects, though, the cause is unknown. And according to Xavier Pombar, DO, director of general obstetrics at Rush Children’s Hospital, it can be overwhelming for parents.

“Couples often come in very frightened,” Pombar says. “It can be an emotional time, but we believe that by giving parents reliable information and helping determine a course of action, we can alleviate some of their stress.”

How Rush can help

When you come to Rush, your family becomes integral members of the health care team. Your questions are always welcome, and the staff of the Fetal and Neonatal Medicine Program will answer them with openness and sensitivity.

As a new patient, you’ll be guided through these steps:

  • The clinic coordinator sets up your appointment and all of your tests — you won’t have to make multiple calls.
  • All of your specialists will be informed of your and your baby’s condition, and your tests are set up for the same day as your appointment to avoid extra trips.
  • When the test results are in, the doctors sit down with you and your family to discuss treatment. You’ll hear all the options and be part of making the decisions.

Learning your baby has a problem can be devastating. But it’s best to know early — leading-edge therapies at Rush can treat some defects before birth, and many others can be managed later.

Specialists also treat expectant mothers with conditions such as seizure disorders, lupus and cardiac anomalies. Even women who have had kidney and liver transplants are cared for at Rush.

Whether your problems are common or complex, your care is fine-tuned to your needs. “Patients have to be comfortable with the decisions,” Pombar says.

In good hands

As an expectant parent, you’ll have support from Rush Children’s Hospital, a leader in caring for children of all ages, from newborns to young adults. Rush Children’s Hospital offers:

  • Neonatologists who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, who are trained in caring for critically ill infants
  • Nationally and internationally respected physicians in more than 30 subspecialties
  • Award-winning nursing staff
  • Transfer services for high-risk mothers and infants from other hospitals
  • Unrestricted visiting privileges for parents and grandparents
  • Special follow-up program for infants from birth to five years

Rush Children’s Hospital is part of the largest perinatal network for obstetrical and neonatal care in Illinois. But we’re most proud of what happens up close between the doctors and families — and the Fetal and Neonatal Medicine Program at Rush was created with that in mind.

For more information about the program, see the Rush Children's Hospital Web site.

To schedule an appointment, call (888) 352-RUSH (7874).

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