Care for high-risk pregnancies in Austin and Central Texas

At St. David's HealthCare, our labor and delivery teams are dedicated to providing the best possible experience for new mothers and their babies. Whether you are sailing through your pregnancy with ease or are experiencing a higher risk for complications, our staff is extremely skilled at managing all situations. Our goal is to dispel fears, encourage informed decision making, and increase your understanding of the NICU while guiding you through this unique and often overwhelming experience.

Our maternal fetal navigation program for high-risk moms and babies

While our desire is for everyone to have a healthy baby and pregnancy, we know that occasionally moms and babies need specialized medical care. If it is determined during your pregnancy that your baby may need care in the neonatal intensive unit or urgent surgery following birth, the nurse navigators at St. David’s Medical Center and St. David’s Women’s Center of Texas are here to support you throughout your journey.

To help you make informed decisions about your child’s care, we offer a specialized nurse navigator service. In addition to introducing you to our maternity and NICU areas through this program, we aim to build your knowledge, encourage informed decision-making and increase your understanding of all our services. Tours and meetings also give us one-on-one time to guide you through care of you and your baby needing NICU care.

How our nurse navigator program works

Your obstetrician (OB) or maternal fetal medicine specialist (MFM) can refer you to one of our programs at St. David’s Medical Center or St. David’s Women’s Center of Texas. One of our nurse navigators will then contact you. They can help you with:

  • Coordinating a personalized tour of our maternity areas and NICU
  • Scheduling a face-to-face consultation with one of our board-certified neonatologists to discuss care and expectations for your new baby
  • Building and maintaining a personalized care file, ensuring high-level communication among all maternity staff
  • Collaborating with your OB, MFM, neonatologists, pediatric surgeons and other maternity specialists to develop a delivery plan and coordinated care
  • Maintaining your medical records, requests and referrals
  • Referring you to additional resources and specialized programs

Our maternal fetal nurse navigators are here throughout your pregnancy to answer questions, provide assistance, guide you through this process and support you and your family. For more information about our nurse navigator program, call:

What makes a pregnancy high risk

A pregnancy is considered high risk if a condition gives you and/or your baby a higher chance of experiencing complications. These complications can occur during pregnancy, during labor or after delivery. Specialized maternal-fetal care is available for women who:

  • Are pregnant with twins, triplets or other multiples
  • Develop medical problems during pregnancy, including gestational diabetes and other endocrine disorders, pre-eclampsia (toxemia) and preterm labor
  • Experience premature rupture of membranes
  • Have pre-existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer or heart disease
  • Have a history of miscarriage or other pregnancy complications
  • Have abused substances while pregnant
  • Have suspected fetal growth restriction (when baby is not growing enough)

High Risk Pregnancy Units within St. David’s HealthCare

St. David's Women's Center of Texas (located within St. David's North Austin Medical Center) and St. David’s Medical Center provides an antepartum and high-risk pregnancy unit for women whose pregnancies require specialized care. Our nurses are specially trained in obstetrics and have extensive experience and training to care for women with high-risk pregnancies as well as to monitor the health and well-being of your baby.

Our multidisciplinary women's care team consists of:

  • Obstetricians
  • Maternal fetal medicine (MFM) specialists
  • Neonatologists
  • Neonatal nurse practitioners
  • Registered dietitians
  • Physical therapists
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Social workers
  • Case managers
  • Chaplains

Maternal-fetal care

MFM is a branch of obstetrics that focuses on the medical and surgical management of high-risk pregnancies. To best monitor mother and baby, high-risk patients are often referred to an MFM physician.

Perinatologists are obstetricians who practice MFM and manage, monitor and treat mothers and their unborn babies. These physicians often use ultrasound, chorionic villus sampling, genetic amniocentesis and fetal surgery or treatments. Our perinatologists work alongside the patient's obstetrician to co-manage all aspects of pregnancy and the birthing process.

Maternal-fetal emergency transport

Emergency transport is available 24/7 for babies who need intensive care. This service is offered both to mothers who go into unplanned labor and to mothers and children who need to be transferred to a higher-level NICU.

Our emergency transport teams include neonatologists, registered nurses and respiratory specialists. These medical professionals provide stabilizing care for moms with anticipated premature deliveries or high-risk pregnancies as well as critically ill newborns.


Sometimes, babies born to mothers who experienced high-risk conditions may need a bit more help and attention once they arrive. Our neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) are designed to help provide stabilizing medical treatment along with developmental care and support to both mom and baby.