The Mothers Center: Multidisciplinary Care for Women with Maternal Risk
In May 2018, NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia University Irving Medical Center opened the Mothers Center, a new space that enables clinicians to provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary care before, during, and after a high-risk pregnancy. The first program of its kind in the country to focus on moms at risk for complications, the Mothers Center consolidates all relevant specialists in the same location, where they can collaborate on an individual patient’s care. The 5,300-square-foot outpatient center, located at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, houses five exam rooms, three consult rooms, two ultrasound rooms, two non-stress-test rooms, and meeting spaces that foster communication and care among providers.
“Mothers are often the heart and anchor of a family; if mom is sick or absent, the whole family suffers. Our job is to optimize the health of mom to the best of our ability, so that she can be healthy for her family and for herself,” says Mary E. D’Alton, MD, Director of Services at NewYork-Presbyterian Sloane Hospital for Women and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
The Mothers Center comes at a time when the high rate of maternal deaths and “near misses” in the United States has drawn attention as a major public health concern. The rate of severe complications around childbirth has steadily increased in recent years and affects more than 50,000 women every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated half of all maternal deaths in the U.S. is preventable.
At the Mothers Center, patients with acute or chronic medical and surgical complications meet with maternal-fetal medicine experts, as well as specialists in cardiology, neurology, surgery, and endocrinology, working as a team to develop customized treatment plans that meet each patient’s unique needs and maximize the safety of both mother and baby. The Mothers Center treats women with a wide range of serious complications and risk factors, such as lung and heart transplants, hypertension, seizure disorders, and placenta accreta. The highest proportion of the Mothers Center’s patients have cardiac conditions.
“Increasingly, women who are considering pregnancy or are already pregnant have significant complexities that require seamless collaboration,” says Leslie Moroz, MD, Director of the Mothers Center. “The reasons for this include delayed childbearing, assisted reproductive technologies, and effective management of conditions that in the past would have made pregnancy ill-advised or not possible.”
Construction of the Mothers Center was made possible by a generous gift from Carmen and John Thain in memory of Carmen’s mother, Angeles Badell, MD, who was a leader in the study of pediatric rehabilitation medicine. An expert in the treatment of spina bifida, Dr. Badell was dedicated to the well-being of mothers and their families.
“I am grateful to Carmen and John Thain, NewYork-Presbyterian, and Columbia University Irving Medical Center for their focus on maternal health and the opportunity to introduce a model of maternal care that we hope will reduce the high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity in New York and across the country,” adds Dr. D’Alton.