About the Fetal Medicine Institute at Children's National Health System

The Fetal Medicine Institute at Children’s National Health System, based in Washington, DC, provides the most advanced and comprehensive care for unborn babies with known or suspected medical conditions in a compassionate and supportive environment. The Institute offers pregnant families advanced fetal diagnostics and treatment.

Led by fetal neurologist Adre J. du Plessis, MBChB, MPH, the Fetal Medicine Institute has significant expertise in the developing fetal brain. The Fetal Brain Program, which is housed within the Fetal Medicine Institute, brings together clinical and research experts including fetal neurologists, pediatric neurosurgeons, and neuroradiologists. The program utilizes advanced MRI, ultrasound, and Doppler to evaluate cerebral circulation in cases with suspected brain anomalies and create individualized care plans with the family and referring providers.

As one of few centers in the world with a fetal neuroradiology team, the Institute’s pioneering research allows them to develop advanced techniques for diagnosing fetal brain development complications. Supported by the Advanced Pediatric Brain Imaging Laboratory, Children’s National is the one of few programs worldwide offering advanced fetal brain MRI analysis. The lab has developed the largest known database for brain development, which is used to support clinical fetal diagnoses by comparing MRI results of fetal patients to age-equivalent volumetric data in the large normative database. In addition, the lab is pioneering new techniques for fetal brain evaluation.

Children’s National is unique in its focus on brain development and the congenital conditions that affect a baby’s transition from fetal to neonatal life.

In addition to the Fetal Brain Program, the Fetal Medicine Institute provides care and diagnosis management for a range of congenital anomalies through the following subspecialty programs:

  • Congenital Zika Virus Program

  • Fetal Genetics and Genetic Counseling

  • Fetal Imaging Program

  • Fetal Heart Program

  • Fetal Transitional and Neonatal Intensive Care Program (in collaboration with Children’s National Division of Neonatology, ranked #1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report)

  • Critical Care Delivery Program

  • Disorders of Sexual Development Program

  • Newborn Surgery

  • Fetal Urology

  • Fetal Reconstructive Surgery

  • Fetal Otolaryngology

  • Fetal Infectious Disease

The Fetal Medicine Institute knows continued support is essential throughout patients’ journeys. In addition to expert physicians who collaborate to provide the most accurate diagnosis and delivery planning, the team of clinical care coordinators specializes in helping families navigate through appointments and care. The team provides compassionate support from first contact through delivery and beyond, ensuring clear communication between patients, providers, and referring providers.

To learn more about the Children’s National Fetal Medicine Institute, visit https://childrensnational.org/departments/fetal-medicine-institute