What to Expect When You Visit the Fetal-Maternal Center

Most patients at the Fetal-Maternal Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles come to us after tests show a possible abnormality with their unborn baby. We understand learning about unexpected challenges can be stressful. We’re here to make your experience as smooth as possible.

Visits to the Fetal-Maternal Center typically occur in four phases:

  1. Contact a nurse care manager
  2. Schedule an initial consultation
  3. Visit the Fetal-Maternal Center
  4. Discuss treatment options

1. Contact a nurse care manager

We accept patients through referrals, or you can call us directly to learn more about how to get a referral. When your referral is complete, you are partnered with a registered nurse care manager who is your point person throughout care.  

During your first call with the Fetal-Maternal Center, your nurse care manager asks you questions regarding your:

  • Baby’s condition
  • Estimated due date
  • Insurance plan
  • Referring healthcare provider

We request a summary of all records including any tests or treatments your baby has already received. You or your baby’s doctor also need to fill out our Fetal-Maternal Center Intake Form (PDF)

2. Schedule an initial consultation

After the initial intake call, we work directly with your insurance carrier or obstetrician to receive authorization for your care. This process can take several days. 

When we have insurance approval, we schedule your initial consultation. If you are traveling to our center from outside the Los Angeles area, a nurse care manager can provide accommodation options. The nurse care manager can also help you make accommodation arrangements, if necessary.

3. Visit the Fetal-Maternal Center

You may bring a friend or family member to accompany you to the first visit. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time to fill out new patient paperwork. Children under 18 years of age are not allowed at the appointment due to risk of infection for pregnant mothers.

Your first visit involves diagnostic testing and evaluation, including fetal imaging. Your treatment team includes:

  • Nurse care manager
  • Perinatologist 
  • Subspecialty doctors, as needed

4. Discuss treatment options

The nurse care manager and perinatologist review and discuss the findings of your tests with you. Depending on your baby’s condition and your preferences, we offer many treatment options.

If you decide to move forward with treatment, our nurse care manager schedules all your appointments. Most patients require treatment from one or more specialized doctors, such as a fetal surgeon or urologist. Your nurse care manager can also explain your care options. This specialist is there to make this process as smooth as possible for you, both by coordinating your care and providing extra support.

Financial Information

We accept many insurance plans. Our financial counselor can answer questions about your insurance coverage and help you understand your financial obligations. If you need assistance making financial arrangements, our financial counselor can provide payment options.

To learn more, please call the Fetal-Maternal Center at 323-361-7042 and request to speak with a financial counselor.

Support Services and Resources 

All patients in the Fetal-Maternal Center have access to a range of support services. We want you to have all the information you need to make informed care decisions.

Genetic counseling

If your baby has a genetic disorder, a genetic counselor can help identify whether other members of your family have the same risks. These counselors ask extensive questions about your family history. They analyze inheritance patterns and assess your personal risk.

The counselor is also there to answer your questions and offer support. These specialists connect you with the appropriate care and support resources, as needed. Learn more about prenatal genetic testing and genetic counseling

Interpreting and translation

When there are language barriers, it can be difficult to understand your medical care. We offer on-site English-Spanish interpretation. Many of our staff members are also bilingual in English and Spanish.

We provide translation services for every language, including American Sign Language (ASL), through a combination of virtual and in-person translators. Learn more about Interpreting and Translation Services.

Therapy services

Patients at the Fetal-Maternal Center have access to free therapy services through the generosity of the Atlas Family Foundation. Our therapists are on-site two days a week to provide one-time or ongoing counseling sessions.

Through the Division of Psychology, we also offer a unique service called Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP). CPP emphasizes the strength of the child-caregiver relationship. This service may be particularly helpful when we know that your baby’s care plan will involve a stay in the Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU). Infants who receive this type of therapy experience fewer long-term effects of trauma and better outcomes.