This week marks 10 years since the expansion of Texas Children’s Hospital into obstetrics and gynecological care, with a special focus on high-risk pregnancies, fetal surgery, and multiple births. The last decade has seen countless breakthrough fetal and gynecological procedures and medical firsts for the tens of thousands of families who have turned to experts at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women for world-class care as they grow their families.
The very first baby was born at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women on March 26, 2012. Weighing 6 lbs. 6 oz., Brayten Green was born to Houston-area parents Andrea and Brandon Green. Dr. Michael Belfort, Obstetrician and Gynecologist-in-Chief at Texas Children’s Hospital and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine, and Dr. Susan Leong-Kee, Associate Medical Director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Simulation Center and Director of the Division of Gynecologic and Obstetric Specialists at Baylor College of Medicine, performed the cesarean section.
Since that day in 2012, more than 59,000 deliveries have occurred at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. Texas Children’s Hospital continues cultivate a unique environment for women at all stages of life. Revolutionary medical milestones include the launch of focused fetal surgery programs to address the unique needs for spina bifida, fetal heart malformations, fetal lung malformations and congenital diaphragmatic hernia.
Since the creation of those programs, the Texas Children’s Fetal Center has performed over 2,016 groundbreaking in-utero procedures, including 122 fetoscopic fetal surgeries to repair spina bifida – more than any other fetal center in the United States. Texas Children’s Hospital was the first in the nation to perform this minimally invasive procedure, which was pioneered by Dr. Belfort, and Dr. William Whitehead, a Pediatric Neurosurgeon at Texas Children’s Hospital and Professor of Neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine.
“The Pavilion for Women boasts a highly experienced team of experts and cutting-edge technologies at one of the best facilities in the world,” said Belfort. “The last decade has been full of life-changing medical advancements in women’s and fetal medicine – impacting lives not just from within our local community but across the globe.”
Recognized for the high quality care that women and babies receive at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, the hospital has been designated as a level IV maternal care facility twice by the Texas Department of State Health Services – an acknowledgment that the hospital provides patients with the highest level of care available in Texas.
In 2019, Texas Children’s Hospital opened one of the nation’s first maternal intensive care units housed within the labor and delivery unit capable of full support services including renal dialysis and sophisticated respiratory support and ventilation methodologies including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). The four-bed unit boasts state of the art equipment including integrated fetal monitoring and is staffed 24/7 by an in-house team of critical care medicine specialists in tandem with maternal fetal medicine physicians. The nursing care is provided by obstetrical intensive care nurses to ensure quality care for mother and baby.
The maternal ICU offers a specialized, private space for high-risk expectant and postpartum mothers with conditions such as sepsis, peripartum bleeding, placenta accreta, maternal heart disease and other serious conditions. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the maternal ICU at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women cared for many pregnant women with severe COVID, supporting patients with ventilation and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) when necessary.
The hospital is also home to a nationally recognized placenta accreta spectrum program, managed by a team of experts who provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for women with this rare and potentially life-threatening pregnancy complication.
Aiming to bring the same quality high-risk pregnancy care women receive within the Texas Medical Center to their own backyard, Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women has opened several new Maternal-Fetal Medicine clinics in multiple communities across the region over the years. Clinic locations include The Woodlands, Northwest Houston, West Houston, Sugar Land, Baytown, The Methodist Hospital, Lufkin, and most recently Clear Lake.
In the spring of 2021 Texas Children’s Hospital announced a $201 million expansion for the Pavilion for Women. The plan includes broadening of services with a new women’s triage service located for immediate care at the entrance to the Pavilion, increased space for transfer of high risk patients who are transported in via helicopter or ambulance from local and regional hospitals, an induction of labor unit, and more ICU and labor beds. The plan will also see the former Baylor Clinic building, located at 6620 Main St., transformed into part of the hospital’s growing campus within the Texas Medical Center. The buildings will be connected via a new sky bridge and will create about 190,000 additional square feet of usable space for the Pavilion for Women. The first phase of the expansion plan is expected to be completed in the spring of 2022. The full expansion is expected to be completed in 2024.
“Since the beginning we have aimed to improve outcomes for mothers and babies by creating a healthcare environment where women and their families feel comfortable and supported during their stay,” said Dr. Lynda Tyer-Viola, Vice President of Women’s Services at the Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. “The health, safety and wellbeing of our patients and their babies is what drives us to be the very best, and we are grateful that we’ve been able to be part of so many families’ very best days – the day they welcome their newborn to the world.”
“When we first began discussing the idea of bringing obstetrics and gynecological care to Texas Children’s, we faced many who said it wasn’t possible,” said Mark A. Wallace, President and CEO of Texas Children’s Hospital. “But over the past 10 years, we’ve built so much more than a women’s hospital — we’ve created a place where women and their babies can thrive. The revolutionary procedures and treatments that have stemmed from Dr. Michael Belfort’s innovative and bold leadership as OB/GYN in Chief and Chair at the Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women during our first decade is something I’m incredibly proud of. I am forever grateful for those who believed in us when we set out on this initiative, and I promise you that this is only the beginning.”
Texas Children’s Hospital is ranked third among the best children’s hospitals nationally by U.S. News & World Report, and first in Texas. For more information or to book an appointment, visit women.texaschildrens.org.
About Texas Children’s Hospital
Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health.
The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Tower for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, the first hospital devoted to children’s care for communities north of Houston. The organization also created Texas Children’s Health Plan, the nation’s first HMO for children; Texas Children’s Pediatrics, the largest pediatric primary care network in the country; Texas Children’s Urgent Care clinics that specialize in after-hours care tailored specifically for children; and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine.