Fetal medicine unit

Fetal Medicine

Southampton is the regional centre for fetal medicine. The unit looks after parents and babies from Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, the Isle of Wight, the Channel Islands and even the Falkland Islands.

Fetal medicine is the care of women with high-risk or problematic pregnancies. It is a branch of Obstetrics, a surgical specialty dealing with the care of a woman and her baby during pregnancy, birth and shortly afterwards.

The unit sees women who may be carrying a baby with an abnormality. The baby might have a structural problem (for example, an abnormality such as a cleft lip, heart defect or kidney problems), or a growth or development problems.

The unit also sees women who have already had babies with abnormalities, or who have a family history of genetic problems.

We perform scans and other tests to tell us more about the baby's problem so that we can plan appropriate care for the mother and her baby during the remainder of the pregnancy. We work closely with other regional specialists such as neonatologists, paediatric cardiologists and paediatric surgeons who can help care for the baby before and after delivery. Occasionally, we might offer treatment before the baby is born.

We have an important role as a teaching unit, for specialists in training, midwives, sonographers and medical students.

We are also active in research, helping to develop improved care for the future.