Conditions We Treat

The Fetal and Pregnancy Health Program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford evaluates, manages, and treats a wide variety of fetal and placental conditions. Our team uses the most advanced therapies and interventions for mothers and fetuses, and is recognized for our ability to treat complex conditions.

We are able to care for both mothers and babies with complicated disorders due to our close integration with the Johnson Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Services and the adult specialty services at Stanford Hospital.

Our program has expertise in treating many fetal and placental conditions, including the following:

Airway malformations or lesions

Airway malformations include anomalies of the mandible (lower jaw), palate, oral cavity, or neck, or masses inside or outside the airway that compress on or obstruct the airway.

Learn more about airway malformations or lesions >

Complex monochorionic twins

In most twins, each fetus has its own placenta (dichorionic placentation). Monochorionic twins, twins sharing a single placenta, develop when a single embryo splits early in gestation.

Learn more about complex monochorionic twins >

Fetal congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia is a very serious condition that occurs when the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the abdomen from the chest, doesn’t develop as it should.

Learn more about fetal congenital diaphragmatic hernia >

Fetal spina bifida

Spina bifida is a condition that happens when the fetus’s bony spine, which protects the spinal cord and nerves, doesn’t develop normally.

Learn more about fetal spina bifida >

Fetal lung mass

These are masses that grow inside or next to an unborn baby’s lung. They are commonly called bronchopulmonary malformations. Large and complex fetal lung masses can be associated with compression of the developing lung; development of fetal hydrops; polyhydramnios; preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), a rupture of the amniotic sac before labor begins; and preterm birth.

Learn more about fetal lung masses >

Fetal hydrothorax

Fetal hydrothorax occurs when fluid builds up within the fetal chest. The fluid can compress the developing lungs and shift the heart from its usual position (mediastinal shift). Compression of the lungs can interfere with their normal development.

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Fetal lower urinary tract obstruction (LUTO)

This finding indicates a blockage in the fetus’s urinary tract, causing the bladder, ureters, and kidneys to swell with urine that can’t drain as it should. This can severely damage the kidneys and the developing lungs if the fluid around the baby decreases over time.

Learn more about fetal lower urinary tract obstruction (LUTO) >

Fetal anemia

Fetal anemia is a low red blood cell count in the fetus. Fetal anemia most commonly results from an incompatibility between the mother’s blood and fetal blood (also known as isoimmunization), but it can also be due to infections and certain genetic conditions. Fetal anemia can lead to cardiac failure and fetal hydrops.

Learn more about fetal anemia >

Placental attachment disorders

Some kinds of placental disorders (placenta previa, accreta, increta, and percreta) happen when a woman’s placenta grows across the cervix or is attached too deeply to the uterine wall. Placenta accreta is the mildest of the three.

Learn more about placental attachment disorders >

Fetal heart conditions

How a heart condition affects a baby varies widely and depends on how severe the problem is, when it is diagnosed, and how it is treated. The likelihood of a child having a developmental disability or delay when he or she is older increases with how complex the heart defect is.

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Neonatal hemochromatosis

Neonatal hemochromatosis (NH) is an extremely rare condition that can result in a serious and sometimes fatal injury to the liver of a developing fetus. An occurrence of NH should be considered in women with a history of having a newborn with severe liver disease or women who have experienced a neonatal or fetal loss due to severe liver disease. This is particularly true if a diagnosis of gestational alloimmune liver disease (GALD) was made. Early prenatal treatment in subsequent pregnancies can prevent liver injury, resulting in a healthy baby.

Learn more about neonatal hemochromatosis >