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Fetal Medicine Unit


Most pregnancies are normal without any complications. However, sometimes a mother or her unborn baby may require specialised care for various reasons. If the unborn baby has abnormalities such as gastroschisis, or the mother has medical conditions that increases risk to their babies such as red cell antibodies or viral infections, they may require specialised care in the Fetal Medicine Unit.

The Fetal Medicine Unit (FMU) at Saint Mary's Hospital is made up of highly experienced fetal medicine consultants and specialist midwives. In addition there are other specialist doctors such as neonatologists, geneticists, paediatric surgeons, fetal cardiologists and neurosurgeons who offer counselling and will take over the care of babies with abnormalities after they are born. There are also fetal medicine subspecialty trainees and sometimes visiting medical students, midwives and neonatal nurses.

The Fetal Medicine Unit serves a maternity population of 50,000 within the North West Region and receives over 1,000 referrals per year.  The unit is one of 12 fetal medicine centres across England that is supported by Specialist Service Commissioning as of April 2013.

There are regular joint and separate clinics with consultant and nurse specialist colleagues from paediatric surgery, paediatric neurosurgery, paediatric nephrology, paediatric cardiology, paediatric urology, clinical genetics, neonatology and intensive care. Almost all of these specialties are co-located at the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust site, either in Saint Mary's Hospital or at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. This means that mothers and their babies are not separated whilst their babies receive the required care after birth.

Crucially, the FMU service also maintains communication with the referring clinicians and specialities.

In the Fetal Medicine Unit we see patients for various reasons and whilst under our care we offer several services including high risk screening, scanning, prenatal diagnosis and treatments.

To find out more about what we offer and reasons for referral click here.


Our staff include:


Contact Us

Our clinics are held in the FMU Department, which is housed within Radiology, Ground Floor, Saint Mary's Hospital.

Our telephone number (0161) 276 6385.

We are open daily from Monday to Friday, 9.00 am-5.00 pm, but are closed at weekends and Bank Holidays. There is a secure answer machine on which you can leave your name and telephone number and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Unfortunately we are unlikely to be able to give any information about the potential problem affecting your baby until we have scanned you. We accept referrals from other obstetrics and gynaecology units and from the genetics department. We do not accept self-referrals.


Here are a few helpful links you may find suitable for you:

Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC) - Provides information and help relating to antenatal screening tests and their consequences

childrenofjannah.com/ - Support for Muslim bereaved parents and families following the death of a child

www.uk-sands.org - (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity) - provides information and support for anyone affected by the death of a baby

www.cafamily.org.uk/ - (Contact a family) - National organisation providing support for families with disabled children


Further information and resources:

We recommend for every patient to read our general fetal medicine unit leaflet prior to their appointment:

We also have some information leaflets relating to specific conditions on our patient information page (Specialist leaflet section).


Heart Abnormalities:


Our Research

The IONA Study

This study aims to develop the Iona test, a scientific technique to allow early and safer ('non-invasive') diagnosis of unborn babies with Down's Syndrome (and other chromosomal abnormalities) from a simple maternal blood test.  Currently, the only method to make an absolute diagnosis of Down's Syndrome involves either taking a biopsy from the placenta (chorion villus sampling) or obtaining a sample of amniotic fluid from around the baby (amniocentesis).  Both of these tests carry the potential risk of miscarriage (1-2% for chorion villus sampling, 0.5-1% for amniocentesis).  Developing a test like the Iona test, that identifies Down's Syndrome/chromosomal abnormality from maternal blood, would avoid having to perform as many amniocentesis/chorionic villus sampling tests in the future.



The RAPID Study

This study aims to develop Non Invasive Prenatal testing for a much wider group of genetic disorders.


A research midwife will approach you at your FMU appointment to discuss one or other of the studies. If you consent, you will be asked for a blood sample and permission to access the result of any invasive test. All research is voluntary and confidential.


For more information on our research please click on the links below:


Research participant information sheet IONA study

Research participant information sheet RAPID study