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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Women's Services

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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 pregnant women across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Northamptonshire and Wiltshire. We aim to see pregnant women promptly when a referral is made due to a suspected problem.

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 the mother's 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 mothers 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 from a mother can identify a small amount of the baby's DNA in order to diagnose genetic conditions, such as Downs 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 intrauterine transfusion, a life-saving procedure for unborn babies who suffer from a serious blood condition.

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

Fetal Surgical Clinic

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

Preterm labour clinic

We offer treatment to prevent premature birth in women with 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

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 for all pregnant women.

Please see 'Publications' (pending)

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.