Skip to main content

Alert Coronavirus / COVID-19

If you have a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell, do not come to our hospitals. Follow the national advice on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please find information on our services and visiting restrictions in our COVID-19 section.

Patients and visitors must wear a face covering in our hospitals.

This site is best viewed with a modern browser. You appear to be using an old version of Internet Explorer.

Oxford Fetal Medicine Unit (FMU)

What we do

Oxford  Fetal Medicine Unit - logo

In approximately two to three in every 100 pregnancies the baby is affected by a condition which requires specialist care before or after birth.

Oxford FMU provides diagnosis, counselling and treatment for families across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Northamptonshire and Wiltshire. We aim to see them promptly when a referral is made due to a suspected problem in pregnancy.

Our team of experienced professionals delivers specialist ultrasound care in a compassionate and supportive environment.

For some conditions we offer advice, so that the pregnancy and birth can be managed in a local hospital close to home. For more complex conditions we offer diagnosis, treatment or even planned birth in the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Our services

Fetal medicine ultrasound

If a problem is suspected during a routine scan, a referral will be made to Oxford Fetal Medicine Unit: most babies however do not need a specialist fetal medicine scan.

Small for gestational age clinic

We have a dedicated clinic where we monitor babies who are small for their gestational age, so that we can select the best time for them to be born.

Fetal cardiology

Cardiologists carry out specialist scans to diagnose conditions which might require heart surgery after birth. These scans are done at the same appointments as fetal medicine scans, so that families do not have to come to hospital more than necessary.

Placenta clinic

We offer specialist ultrasound scans for the diagnosis of an abnormally invasive placenta.

Multiple pregnancies

We offer care for complicated twin pregnancies, triplets and quadruplets etc.

Genetic counselling

We provide diagnosis and prevention of inherited and genetic fetal conditions.

Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT)

A blood test in pregnancy can identify a small amount of the baby's DNA in order to diagnose genetic conditions, such as Down's syndrome or rare inherited disorders.

Invasive diagnostic tests

These are tests where a thin needle is inserted into the womb to obtain a sample of amniotic fluid (amniocentesis), placenta (chorionic villous sample [CVS]) or umbilical cord blood (cordecentesis).

Fetal therapy

We regularly undertake fetal transfusion, a life-saving procedure for unborn babies who suffer from a serious blood condition.

Fetal transfusion

We also perform fetal shunt insertions, where abnormal fluid inside a baby's body is removed to allow normal development.

Fetal Surgical Clinic

We provide care during pregnancy and delivery in cases where the baby will need surgery after birth.

Preterm labour clinic

We offer treatment to prevent premature birth where families have had a previous premature baby, or those who have risk factors.

Our team

We are a multidisciplinary team of professionals, with a core team of consultants and specialist midwives based at the John Radcliffe Hospital:

Oxford Fetal Medicine Unit team

We work closely with a large team of specialists including:

  • neonatologists
  • paediatric surgeons
  • neurosurgeons
  • urologists
  • neuroradiologists.

Contact us

Fetal Medicine Unit
Level 6, Women's Centre
John Radcliffe Hospital
Headley Way
Oxford OX3 9DU

Our research

Our team is actively involved in research.

We have conducted and published studies in topics such as:

  • the management of fetal conditions requiring neonatal surgery
  • the diagnosis of placental disorders
  • the short- and long-term impact of hypoxia during labour
  • non-invasive prenatal diagnosis.

We have a strong interest in preventing stillbirth and have introduced routine screening for fetal growth restriction, with a universal third trimester scan.

Please visit 'Publications'

How we are funded

Oxford FMU is funded through the NHS. We are also supported by the generosity of our patients and their families through donations to the FMU Charity, part of Oxford Hospitals Charity.

Money raised through the charity has paid for:

  • ultrasound equipment
  • IT equipment such as computers and software
  • education to ensure our team provides high quality care based on the latest evidence.