Perinatal Palliative Care - Loving Care for Babies and Their Families

Palliative Care is a team made up of doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, care coordinators and certified child life specialists committed to helping your family and newborn through a difficult illness and long hospitalizations.

Our goal is to get to know your family and to be a shoulder to lean on. 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.

How Perinatal Palliative Care Can Help

Our team is trained in the physical, emotional and spiritual care of families with seriously ill infants. We work closely with your OB doctor or your baby’s doctor to create a medical plan that addresses your life plan for your baby.

Perinatal palliative specialists support you with good communication by helping you:

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

Perinatal Palliative team members bring comfort by providing:

  • Help with symptom management and medical decisions
  • Emotional and spiritual support
  • Coordination with home care services
  • Care at end of life

Perinatal Palliative team members help create bonding moments by encouraging:

  • The collection of footprints or handprints and pictures
  • A blessing or dedication for your baby
  • Care focused on family bonding
  • Dressing baby in special outfits
  • Support for siblings by a certified child life specialist
  • Celebrations of normal family moments (such as holding and reading to baby) and other milestones (1 month birthday, etc.)

If your child has a condition that can’t be cured and is expected to die shortly after birth, we will help you plan the memories you want with your child during and after delivery. You and your family can let us know 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.

Who is Eligible to Receive These Services?

Our team provides care for babies with many different types of serious illnesses. Below is a list of common diagnoses supported by Perinatal Palliative Care services.

  • Trisomy 13
  • Trisomy 18
  • Holoprosencephaly
  • Anencephaly
  • Hydranencephaly (Congenital Hydrocephalus)
  • Complex Cardiac Lesions (Single Ventricle Pathophysiology, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome)
  • Anhydraminos or Early Oligohydraminos (Bilateral Renal Agenesis, Infantile Polycystic Kidneys)
  • Severe Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia
  • Lethal Skeletal Dysplasia or Malformations
  • Large Abdominal Wall Defects
  • 3rd Trimester Intrauterine Fetal Demise (IUFD)
  • 23 week gestation preterm labor/delivery
  • Maternal medical condition leading to early delivery before 23 weeks
  • A diagnosis or condition in the unborn baby in which the baby is not expected to have long-term survival or the disease carries high risk of significant sickness or death

Perinatal Palliative Care Services Extend Beyond Delivery

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 Palliative Care experts at University Health System are available to you from the time of diagnosis and continue to be there throughout your child’s life.

Our care team sees infants and children in all pediatric units at University Hospital and we follow your child throughout their stay and even during subsequent hospitalizations. After discharge from the hospital, treatment continues through our University Children’s Health Comprehensive Care Clinic, where we provide primary care for children with special healthcare and medical needs.

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.

How Do I Get Perinatal Palliative Care for My Family?

For more information on our services, please speak to your OB or your infant’s doctor about Perinatal Palliative Care. Ask them to refer you to our team. For more information, call 210-743-2110. You can also email questions about our services to Perinatal.PalliativeCare@uhs-sa.com.