Medical Minute 3-15: Dangerous Deliveries: Keeping Mom and Baby Together

By: Melissa Medalie Email
By: Melissa Medalie Email

Maggie Kelly is a toddler in constant motion. You'd never suspect Maggie had to fight to live from the moment she was born.

Molly Kelly learned halfway through her pregnancy her baby had a serious birth defect.

"There's no way you can help your child except to love them," said Molly Kelly.

At 25 weeks, fetal heart specialists detected a defect that would restrict blood flow to the baby's lungs. Doctors told the Kellys their baby would need surgery right after delivery. Instead of transferring the baby to a specialized hospital, this unit at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is specifically designed for women carrying babies with known birth defects. Doctors pass the baby through a window to surgeons waiting next door.

"Had we not been able to jump in immediately, the outcome would not have been a good as it is," said Jack Rychik, M.D., Director Fetal Heart Program: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

It's the first high-risk delivery room in the world where mom gives birth and stays near the baby. Precious time to bond as a family.

"To be there and stay there when they're weak and need you, there's nothing more to say than that," said Molly Kelly.

Doctors call the special delivery unit a way to provide the patient with seamless care from the womb to bassinet, and families like the Kellys call it nothing less than life- changing.


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