Perinatal Supportive Care

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Perinatal Supportive Care

If a health condition causes symptoms or affects you and your baby’s quality of life, turn to the compassionate, experienced perinatal supportive care team at the Women's & Children's Hospital.

What Is Perinatal Supportive Care?

Supportive care is special medical care for infants whose life may be limited — during pregnancy, at the time of birth and after birth. Your infant may receive care as a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) patient or by a doctor’s referral.

Your baby’s care team will manage any discomfort, relieving pain and other symptoms associated with serious illnesses.

Conditions Treated

Get exceptional supportive care services for a broad range of serious illnesses and genetic and rare diseases that affect babies, such as:

  • Trisomy 13 and 18 chromosome disorders 
  • Abnormal brain development (holoprosencephaly)
  • Abnormal development of the diaphragm, anencephaly
  • Birth disabilities of the brain, spine or spinal cord
  • Bone growth disorders
  • Congenital and genetic diseases
  • Congenital heart defects
    • Complex cardiac lesions (single ventricle pathophysiology/hypoplastic left heart syndrome)
  • Extremely preterm labor/delivery
  • Kidney problems
  • Large abdominal wall defects
    • Low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios)
    • No kidneys at birth
  • Other conditions that carry a high risk of severe sickness or death
  • Third-trimester fetal death

Loving Care for Babies & Families

Rest assured, we will get to know your family and be a source of support when you need it most. We work with your child’s whole medical team to develop and customize a medical plan of care that is best for your baby’s overall health and quality of life.

Skilled, Expert Care Team

Lean on our dedicated professionals to help you, your family and newborn through a difficult illness or long hospitalization. Your supportive care team at University Health may include:

  • Pediatric supportive care physicians
  • Maternal-fetal medicine specialists
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner
  • Pediatric nurses
  • Care coordinators
  • Certified Child Life specialists
  • Dietitian
  • Social worker
  • Pediatric chaplains

Care Goals

As a parent, you’ll be part of all decision-making processes. Depend on us to help you develop a birth plan tailored to your values and wishes.

We provide perinatal supportive care prenatal visits. Our team can meet with you and your family before your baby is born to discuss you and your baby’s care plan goals. 

When your baby is born, expect their care to follow your social, emotional, spiritual and cultural preferences. Regular assessment of care goals is part of our process.

How Supportive Care Can Help

Trust our team to manage the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of families with seriously ill infants. We work closely with your OB doctor or your baby’s doctor to create a safe medical plan that respects your wishes for your baby.

Supportive Care Services

Rely on your perinatal supportive care team to guide and comfort you during this time. Your specialist will provide regular communication to help you:

  • Understand your child’s illness and the medical options available
  • Know what to expect during your hospital stay
  • Develop detailed birth plans
  • Set goals in the care process
  • Organize future care for your child

When you need assistance or comfort, your team can provide you:

  • Help with symptom management and medical decisions
  • Medical decision guidance
  • Emotional and spiritual support
  • Coordination with home care services
  • End-of-life care if needed

Bonding with Your Baby

If your child has a condition that cannot be cured with short life expectancy after birth, your care team will help you plan the memories you want with your child during and after delivery. Create bonding moments through:

  • Recording footprints and handprints and taking pictures
  • Dedication or blessing for your baby
  • Dressing baby in special outfits
  • Family moments and milestones with your baby, such as holding, reading to your baby or celebrating their life
  • Support for siblings by a certified Child Life specialist

You and your family determine how you want to spend time with your baby and what is most important to you. Our team will ensure the time you have is protected and respected.

Care Beyond Delivery

Call on our perinatal supportive care experts from diagnosis throughout your child’s life. Partner with us to continue services when your baby leaves the hospital.

In addition to providing a great deal of support before, during and immediately after delivery, we continue to provide services to you and your family after you leave the hospital. Perinatal Supportive Care experts at University Health are available to you from the time of diagnosis and continue to be there throughout your child’s life.  

Pediatric Care

Your child has a pediatric care team at University Hospital that provides care throughout their hospital stay, during subsequent hospitalizations and after they leave the hospital. Care and treatment continue through our University Children’s Health Comprehensive Care Clinic, where we provide primary care for children with specialized health and medical needs.

End-of-Life Care

End-of-life care is one part of supportive care at the Women's & Children's Hospital. This type of care supports a peaceful, dignified passing and provides thorough support to you and your family.

If you experience the loss of your baby, we will connect you with community resources for funeral, burial and cremation services, as well as grief and bereavement support services.

Loss & Grief

Connect with grief and bereavement support services with the help of your care team. Participate in the art and activities available at University Health to help you heal.

How Do I Get Perinatal Supportive Care Services?

For more information about our services, please speak to your OB or your infant’s doctor about perinatal supportive care. Ask them to refer you to our team.

For more information, please call 210-743-4575. You can also email questions about our services to

  1. Glen Medellin, MD
    Glen Medellin, MD
  2. Patricia Deforest, DO
    Patricia Deforest, DO
    Palliative Medicine