Psychology Services in the CFDT and SDU

Learning about your baby's diagnosis can lead to many complex emotions. The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment is the first fetal treatment center to have a dedicated clinical psychologist on staff who focuses solely on providing emotional support and counseling for families with prenatally diagnosed birth defects.

Joanna C.M. Cole, PhD, has specialized training in the care of the pregnant mother and works closely with other members of your care team to provide therapeutic services to you and your family during the prenatal period, while in the Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit, and in the intensive care units after your baby is born.

How our psychologist supports families in the CFDT and SDU

As part of a multidisciplinary team, psychologists provide comprehensive mental health services for patients and their families.

Our dedicated psychologist can offer:

  • Education about the risks of perinatal and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders
  • Individual, couple's and family therapy sessions to identify, understand and balance the emotional toll of the pregnancy in the context of your other life stressors
  • Skills training in strategies to manage symptoms of anxiety, traumatic stress and depression in response to your baby's diagnosis
  • Encouragement for couples to discuss thoughts and feelings together and work on effective communication skills
  • Help in addressing sensitive issues such as a history of infertility, past trauma and loss, mental health and/or substance use challenges that can complicate your ability to cope with your baby’s diagnosis and course of the pregnancy
  • Strategies to address pain and stress reduction, and to manage bed rest after fetal surgery
  • Instruction on relaxation techniques to help with sleep and daily worries, and ways to emotionally prepare for fetal interventions, the labor and delivery process, and your baby's care after delivery (listen to guided relaxation audio recordings)
  • Pregnancy options counseling and support for those expectant parents who face grief while preparing to deliver their baby through palliative care

Learn more about how a psychologist can help your family in the N/IICU after your baby is born.


Next Steps
Pregnant Mom and Child

Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment

The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment cares for women carrying babies with known birth defects, from diagnosis to fetal surgery to care after birth.

Pregnancy and Zika virus

Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit

CHOP’s Special Delivery Unit is the world’s first birth facility in a pediatric hospital specifically designed for mothers carrying babies with known birth defects.