What to Expect at Your First Fetal Care Center Appointment

We know it can be difficult and scary if you learn your baby has an unexpected, complicated diagnosis. Our multi-disciplinary team of experts in the Fetal Care Center is here to give you and your child compassionate, comprehensive care to meet your and your baby’s health needs. We can provide screening, testing and intervention services that can improve your baby’s overall well-being.

We understand the services you need during pregnancy may be complex, and you likely have many questions for our care team. To help you prepare for your first appointment, here are details about what you can expect.

Making an Appointment

Getting an appointment with our center is simple. To make an appointment, new patients can call the center directly, fill out our online self-referral form, or get a referral from your maternal-fetal (MFM) provider, your OB/GYN, or another fetal care center. Existing patients may call, send an email, or submit a MyChart message.

Once we receive your appointment request or a physician referral, our patient coordinators will contact you for registration and insurance information. Our finance team will review your insurance benefits. When we receive your medical records, our nurses will review and send them to maternal-fetal medicine (MFM). Then, MFM providers will create a plan for your visit, including any tests needed or meetings with other specialists.

Our staff will schedule your appointment around the MFM plan of care. We will call you within a few days to let you know when to arrive.

Planning and Completing Your Visit

We are here to help you navigate the process and provide a personalized approach. One of our nurse coordinators will call you to review your patient history, gather details about symptoms, health history, and any previous treatment, as well as give you more information about your upcoming visit and diagnosis. They will also ask what other assistance you may need during your time with us, including transportation, lodging, food, etc. This call is a good time for you to ask questions.

Our nurse coordinator and social workers will also meet with you to create a support plan that meets your emotional needs. Our social workers coordinate with Child Life specialists to address your family’s needs, as well.

Please email or fax any important test results or medical records you may have. For patients who have been advised they may need emergency surgery, do not eat or drink anything for several hours prior to your visit. We will let you know how long to fast.

Arriving at the Center

Most of our appointments span over two days. One day is devoted to testing and meeting with specialists. The next day is focused on conversations with your physicians about your plan of care or delivery. Consequently, please bring the items you will need to stay comfortable, such as phone chargers, comfortable shoes and clothes, a support person and any drinks or snacks (unless you’ve been asked to fast).

Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time and allow an additional 10 minutes for parking and walking to our center. Check the schedule you received via email to confirm the location of your first appointment. If you need help after you arrive, stop by one of the Welcome Desks located throughout the hospital. You can also download Cincinnati Children’s app, Caren, to help you find your way around.

If you’re running late, please call the center.

At Your Appointment

Your first appointment is dedicated to completing any initial testing and developing a plan of care for the rest of your pregnancy. Your provider may also work with you on delivery planning.

During this visit, you will meet with some or all of the following team members:

  • Medical assistant
  • Nurse
  • Social worker
  • Genetic counselor
  • Child Life specialist
  • Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) Specialist
  • Pediatric surgeon
  • Neonatologist
  • Advanced practice nurse
  • Ultrasound technologist
  • MRI technologist
  • ECHO technologist
  • Sub-specialists, based upon your diagnosis

Every patient experience and appointment are different, but you should be prepared for:

  • Testing
  • Visits with a nurse
  • Conversations with a social worker
  • Meetings with a genetic counselor
  • Physical exam, if needed
  • Visits with your provider to discuss your plan of care

Your provider may recommend several types of tests, including:

  • MRI: A two-hour imaging study that uses magnets to take detailed pictures of your baby.
  • Ultrasound: A one-to-two-hour imaging study that uses sound waves to take pictures of your baby and track blood through the placenta.
  • Echocardiogram: A one-to-two-hour imaging study that takes pictures of and measures blood flow through your baby’s heart.
  • EKG: A short test that involves putting electrodes on your body to measure your heart’s electrical activity.
  • Blood work

If you qualify for a research study or clinical trial, our research team will either meet with you in person or call you to discuss opportunities to participate. You are not required to enroll — participation is optional.

At the end of your appointment, one of our nurse coordinators will review your after-visit summary with you and walk you through any next steps or follow-up, such as testing, fetal surgical intervention or delivery planning. You will also receive any treatment recommendations from your physician at this time.

After the Appointment

After your appointment, we will send an official summary letter to your referring physician. If needed, we will also call them to discuss your visit and plan of care.

At the end of your appointment, you will be assigned a fetal nurse coordinator who will be your primary contact after your visit. If you have an urgent need, the fetal nurse coordinator on call is available 24/7.

We invite you to take a tour of the Fetal Care Center. Please contact us with any questions!

Fetal Care Center Financial FAQs

Our financial representatives verify your coverage for OB care for Cincinnati Children’s Fetal Care Center with your insurance company. Most of the time, coverage for Fetal Care Center is just like you would be receiving care with your regular OB / Gyn or MFM, but occasionally, your plan may not be in network with some of our providers. We encourage you to contact your insurance company to verify if all our collaborating partners are in network with your plan. We will attempt to receive prior authorization for your care even if you are out of network for our Center.
The Fetal Care Center is a collaboration of University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Good Sam Hospital at TriHealth and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center providers. You may receive bills from any of the collaborating providers throughout the duration of your care at the Fetal Care Center depending on which providers you see during your visits.
Cincinnati Children's accepts most commercial insurances such as Humana, Anthem BCBS, United Health Care, Aetna and Cigna plans. PPO insurance plans are most likely to have coverage at the Fetal Care Center. EPO and HMO plans will need a referral to come to the Fetal Care Center. Please contact your insurance plan to find out if Cincinnati Children's, Good Sam Hospital, and UC Medical Center are in network with your plan.
We verify your insurance, network, and benefit coverage to come to the Fetal Care Center and Good Sam Hospital through a benefit check. We then send for an insurance approval. Some insurance plans do not need authorization, even if they told you an authorization might be needed.
If you have a commercial insurance, the cost of procedures varies because they have contracts with each insurance company. Contact us at fetalauthorizations@cchmc.org and we will get you in touch with the cost estimate team to assist you.
If you are uninsured, we can work with you to give you the total cost of services (for Cincinnati Children's, all providers, radiology, labs, etc.) in an estimate. We will reach out to the financial advocates for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and at Good Sam. Their team will see if there are resources available to you or determine if you qualify for state Medicaid coverage. If you have additional questions, contact our financial team at fetalauthorizations@cchmc.org for more information.
If your insurance has denied the visit to the Fetal Care Center, we will file an appeal to try to get the insurance company to reconsider. Sometimes the insurance company wants to speak to our specialists directly, or we will submit additional records / documents to support your visit to our center. If the insurance company denies the need for your visit again, your family can file a grievance with the insurance company.