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Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Fetal Care Center

As a leading women’s hospital in the Southeast, Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies is committed to advancing the care of unborn babies through expanded treatment options. Our Fetal Care Center, part of the Leon Pediatric Neuroscience Center of Excellence, is dedicated to helping families when prenatal conditions are diagnosed.

Our team of renowned doctors, specialists and nurses can explain your choices for care and will stay with you throughout your pregnancy, the birth of your child and afterward into recovery.

We help you get the answers you need. Through personalized care plans, our dedicated team supports your decisions medically and emotionally. Our staff coordinates your care with experts in maternal, fetal and pediatric medicine at our advanced facilities, so you can focus on healing and moving forward.

In Utero Surgery for Spina Bifida

At the Fetal Care Center, our goal is to provide the best possible care for mother and child, and that may mean surgery before your baby is born. Our experienced surgeons perform innovative procedures that include repairing the most severe form of spina bifida. Only a few hospitals in the United States can perform this type of open fetal surgery. Orlando Health Winnie Palmer was the first in the state of Florida to offer this option and is the only facility in the Southeast for this treatment.

The benefits of prenatal repair of the spine include the likelihood of better mobility for the child as well as a decreased need for a brain shunt. Our team’s expertise and experience have produced consistent, positive outcomes for babies with spina bifida, and our program continues to flourish.

Mothers at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer can request evaluations for this surgical program. If they meet the strict scientific criteria for fetal surgery, they will be offered the surgery as one of the treatment options available to them. Our fetal surgery team follows the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the MOMS clinical study. Every mother and her fetus undergo a thorough workup to determine their candidacy for fetal surgery. Patients then decide whether they want to proceed with this delicate surgery or opt for treatment after their babies are born. For both medical approaches, patients can feel confident they are receiving the highest level of care available anywhere for babies with spina bifida.

Fetal Care Services

Our Fetal Care Center is here to assist your family from diagnosis and prenatal care through fetal surgery, delivery and care after birth.  Our services include:

  • In-depth evaluation of fetal anatomy, growth and well-being, using ultrasound, and in some cases, fetal echocardiogram
  • Diagnosis and treatment of fetal anomalies
  • Identification of birth defects in utero, such as cleft palate and cleft lip, and the establishment of a plan for care once your child is delivered
  • One-on-one consultation and counseling from a specialized fetal care physician
  • Genetic counseling when there is an underlying genetic component to your child’s condition
  • Patient-directed care, enabling you to decide with your physician whether to observe the condition, or have a corrective procedure
  • Connection to Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, allowing you access to pediatric specialists
  • Innovative fetal procedures, including in utero fetal surgery, available at only a handful of centers across the country
  • One of the nations most experienced labor and delivery units and neonatal intensive care units (NICU)

At the Fetal Care Center, our skilled surgeons are trained extensively in open fetal, in utero procedures, including:

  • Repair of myelomeningocele – the most severe form of spina bifida
  • Treatment of various teratomas
  • Treatment of pulmonary masses
  • Treatment of other congenital masses and lesions that could threaten the baby’s life

Our experienced physicians also manage fetal conditions through a number of specialized procedures, including:

  • Amniocentesis
  • Chorionic villus sampling -- transabdominal/transvaginal (CVS)
  • Intrauterine transfusion (IUT)
  • Percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS)
  • Thoracoamniotic shunt placement
  • Transvaginal cervical cerclage placement
  • Transabdominal cervical cerclage placement
  • Vesicoamniotic shunt placement
  • Ex-utero Intrapartum Treatment (EXIT Procedure)

It’s incredible what the Orlando Health team was able to do for us. It’s amazing that at 25 weeks, they could do this surgery on a baby that was still in the uterus, basically changing her entire life.

Akosua Taylor


Quote from Akosua Taylor
Akosua Taylor's Story

The Fetal Care Team

At the Fetal Care Center, you will have access to our team of internationally recognized experts, including perinatologists, pediatric specialists, and genetic counselors who continuously work to advance the techniques used to treat fetal conditions and improve patient outcomes.

Fetal surgery physician: A doctor specially trained to repair fetal structural abnormalities in-utero or fix placental blood flow imbalances to improve fetal growth and development.

Fetal care nurses/coordinators: Registered nurses, who help answer questions, schedule appointments, attend surgeries and coordinate with your primary physician.

Maternal-Fetal Medicine physician: A specialized physician also known as a perinatologist who manages the health of the mother and baby before, during and shortly after pregnancy. They diagnose and treat many aspects of high-risk pregnancies, as well as assist in fetal surgeries.

Fetal care sonographers: A team of ultra sonographers that performs specialized ultrasounds and echocardiograms for a range of high-risk conditions in pregnancy, as well as provide ultrasound guidance during surgeries.

Contact Us

We are here to help you and your baby. To begin receiving answers to your questions, please contact our Fetal Care Center coordinator:

Diane Walker, RN, BSN, C-EFM
Phone: (321) 843-1414
Fax (321) 841-9817
Email: [email protected]

Meet the Physicians

Samer K Elbabaa, MD

Pediatric & Fetal Neurosurgery

Cole Douglas Greves, MD

Maternal and Fetal Medicine

Gregory John Locksmith, MD

Maternal and Fetal Medicine