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
- Social worker
- Genetic counselor
- Child Life specialist
- Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) Specialist
- Pediatric surgeon
- 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:
- 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!