NorthShore's Centers for Maternal and Fetal Health offer a full spectrum of consultative, diagnostic and therapeutic services for women and their fetuses during pregnancy. The Centers are conveniently located at three NorthShore hospitals (Evanston Hospital, Glenbrook Hospital and Highland Park Hospital), as well as six additional locations throughout the NorthShore University HealthSystem Perinatal Network (Lake Bluff, Gurnee, Arlington Heights, Libertyville, Evanston-St. Francis and Chicago).

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An integrated, comprehensive care team provides a unique approach to the pregnant woman and her fetus though state of the art ultrasound technology and specialized nurses, physicians and support staff. Biweekly care conferences bring together the members of the Centers for Maternal and Fetal Health to discuss and review patient progress. This multidisciplinary approach greatly enhances quality of care and individualized management. Each center is connected by a centrally located data and reporting system which provides continuity of care for each patient.

Services

  • Basic obstetric ultrasound
  • Comprehensive obstetric ultrasound targeted for fetal birth defects
  • Ultrasound screening for fetal chromosomal abnormalities (such as Down syndrome)
  • First trimester genetic screening
  • Pulsed wave and color Doppler
  • 3-D and 4-D ultrasound
  • Antepartum biophysical testing (nonstress testing and biophysical profile)
  • Fetal blood sampling and transfusion
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for fetal anomalies
  • Maternal-fetal medicine consultation
  • Perinatal family support
  • Neonatology consultation
  • Fetal shunt surgery
  • Rapid magnetic resonance imaging for fetal anomalies
  • Pediatric specialist consultation (cardiology, surgery, urology, neurosurgery)

Comprehensive Care Team

Maternal-Fetal Medicine Physicians

The team is led by nine board-certified/board-eligible Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists who provide fetal diagnostic services and consultation. They are:

Ultrasonographers

The Centers have 10 ultrasonographers specializing in obstetric ultrasound. The ultrasonographers have over 100 years of combined experience in obstetric ultrasound and understand the special and unique experience of pregnancy. Our staff provide high quality, compassionate ultrasound services.

Genetic Counselors

The Center has six board-certified/board-eligible genetic counselors led by Elizabeth Leeth. The genetic counselors provide counseling for patients undergoing genetic testing, such as CVS and amniocentesis, as well as patients with more complicated family and genetic histories. In addition, they provide consultation regarding exposure to medications and drugs which may cause birth defects. The genetic counselors also coordinate the multidisciplinary care for patients diagnosed with birth defects during pregnancy. 

Nursing

There are specialty-trained Maternal-Fetal Medicine nurses assisting the management and education of patients receiving services in the Centers. Antenatal Diagnostic nurses provide fetal heart rate monitoring for non-stress testing and biophysical profiles, which assess fetal well-being. 

Neonatology

The Division of Neonatology has ten board-certified neonatologists led by William MacKendrick, MD, Director, Division of Neonatology, and Michael Caplan, MD, Chairman, Department of Pediatrics. Other members of the Division include:

Neonatology consultation is provided for women whose fetuses are identified as having birth defects or suspected to require special needs at delivery. 

Perinatal Family Support

Perinatal Family Support Services provide social services and emotional support for women experiencing stressful pregnancies. Perinatal Family Support Services is directed by Nancy Eschbach, MSW and is comprised of seven other support staff, who are either specialists in social work or psychology. 

Pediatric Cardiology

Pediatric Cardiology consultation and fetal echocardiograms are provided for those patients in which there is an increased risk of a fetal cardiac defect or a fetal cardiac defect is identified. Pediatric cardiologists are also involved in those cases in which a fetal arrhythmia is identified. 

Pediatric Surgery

Pediatric surgical consultation is provided for those families in which a birth defect is identified, and it is suspected that fetal surgery may be required. Consultation prior to delivery prepares the family with information and expectations following delivery. In addition, parents are familiar with the surgeon prior to the procedure. 

Radiology

In special cases, rapid magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is recommended to provide additional information about a suspected fetal birth defect. In particular, rapid MRI provides additional information about brain abnormalities, which allows more informative counseling. Joel Meyer, MD oversees the fetal MRI. 

Research

The Center for Maternal and Fetal Health is also committed to excellence in research. Recently, two NIH-sponsored studies were completed by our physician scientists involving first trimester genetic screening and early amniocentesis versus chorionic villus sampling for genetic diagnosis.  In addition, a comprehensive database facilitates evidence-based outcomes research, as well as quality improvement.

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