High Risk Delivery

If we have diagnosed a medical condition in your unborn baby, you may feel anxious about the delivery. You may have questions about where you will deliver and what will happen afterward.

For high-risk babies who may become seriously sick around the time of birth, our fetal and transitional medicine experts from the Critical Care Delivery Program will create a personalized delivery plan for you that is based on the diagnosis we make for your baby. Of course, this is done in close collaboration with your referring doctor, who may further adapt the delivery plan based on your condition.

What to Expect

Thanks to our expert diagnostics and skilled physicians, you and your family will be well informed and prepared before you deliver. Our advanced imaging capabilities give us detailed images of your unborn baby, which allows us to assess his or her condition and recommend the optimal delivery plan. Our specialists work with you, your family, and your referring physician so your baby’s birth and postnatal care is as safe and comfortable as possible. Learn more about high-risk prenatal care.

Levels of Care

We know that bringing a baby into the world is a special, life-changing moment. We do everything we can to ensure that you can deliver where and how you choose. In most cases, women whose babies have a medical condition can deliver safely at their own local hospital, and come to Children’s National for a newborn follow-up visit after birth. In rare cases, we need to deliver a baby close to or at our Children’s National.

For all critical deliveries, our Critical Care Delivery Program team will coordinate your care and work closely with you and your referring physician.

During our evaluation of an unborn baby, the Critical Care Delivery Program team will categorize the anticipated delivery into one of four levels of care. 

  • Level I. Your baby’s diagnosis does not require immediate post-birth specialist care. You can deliver in your local hospital. Before delivery, we will discuss your baby’s outpatient care plan. We implement this plan after you and your baby have been discharged from your birthing center and describes your baby’s follow-up care that will be arranged by the Fetal Medicine Institute of Children’s National.
  • Level II. Your baby will need surgery or intervention soon after birth, but you can deliver at your local hospital. The Critical Care Delivery Program team will arrange with your local referring physician to transport your baby after delivery to Children’s National. Learn more about transport medicine at Children’s National.
  • Levels III and IV. These cases are rare. Level III and IV deliveries are for babies that the Critical Care Delivery Program team has determined will need highly specialized care immediately after birth. As recommended by our team, these babies should be delivered close to or at Children’s National, where our team of experts will be prepared to care for your child the minute she or he is born.

After our consultations, the Critical Care Delivery Program team will create your specific delivery plan based on your delivery care level. We will recommend the plan to your referring physician and keep you informed about this plan prior to your actual delivery.

Contact Us

For more information, call us at 1-202-476-7409.

Children's Team

Children's Team


Adre Du Plessis

Director, Fetal Medicine Institute
Division Chief, Fetal and Transitional Medicine
Children's Locations that Perform this Procedure

Children's Locations that Perform this Procedure

Treatment Service Locations

main hospital

Main Hospital

111 Michigan Avenue, NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20010

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Fetal Medicine Institute

Our fetal medicine team provides specialized, expert care for babies during pregnancy, delivery, and the postnatal period.

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