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What does it mean to keep the mother’s health front and center? For Dr. Yasser El-Sayed, Obstetrician in Chief at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, it’s very important to keep mom’s health a priority when you are dealing with complicated births, such as those requiring fetal surgeries. Dr. El-Sayed leads the maternal and fetal medicine programs at Packard Children’s, offering specialized comprehensive care to expectant moms with high risk pregnancies.

In this conversation, Dr. El-Sayed discusses how the maternal fetal medicine programs address complicated births and philanthropy’s role in helping provide top-notch patient care at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. You’ll also hear from Karen and Angel, who spoke about their daughter, Victoria’s, experience with a groundbreaking fetal surgery to treat her spina bifida.

0:01 – Introduction to Karen and Victoria’s story

1:50 – Why Dr. El-Sayed chose to work with mothers and babies

5:40 – Karen and Victoria’s story, continued

7:17 – The fetal program at Stanford Children’s Hospital and types of complications treated

13:02 – How Stanford Children’s Hospital helped a pregnant woman give birth with COVID

15:59 – How a recent gift from David and Lucile Packard Foundation will impact care

22:48 – Developments in research around the placenta

26:40 – Karen and Victoria’s story, continued

27:33 – Philanthropy’s role

31:52 – Midnight Rounds, the hospitals unofficial band

34:37 – How Dr. Yasser El-Sayed relates to nature

Read the full transcript here.

About the Podcast

Care + Cures: Advancing children’s health in Silicon Valley (a Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health podcast) unites families, donors, doctors and more to advance transformative healthcare for children. Echoing the innovative spirit of Lucile “Lu” Packard, the children’s hospital’s visionary founder, Care + Cures delivers stories of patient triumphs and challenges, medicine’s successes and failures, and the power of community support—all coming together to change the world, one child at a time.

About the Host

Sarah Davis is a podcast producer and learning experience designer with interests in storytelling, healthcare, the science of learning, and design thinking. She splits her time between the East Bay and Des Moines, Iowa, where she enjoys finding new food adventures, biking the trail networks, and admiring sunsets after hikes in the hills. You can reach her at


Dr. Yasser El-Sayed:

Dr. Yasser El-Sayed’s website:

Meet Victoria:

Dr. Yair Blumenfeld:

Fetal Spina Bifida: ​​

Stanford Children’s Hospital Case Study on Twin Twin Transfusion Syndrome: Side by Side by Side: Saving the Luevanos Triplets:

Facts about Diaphragmatic Hernia:

Amniotic Fluid:

Pregnant Mom Survives Life Threatening COVID Infection, Delivers Healthy Baby:

Dr. Virginia Winn’s work on the placenta:


Placenta accreta:

Dr. Deirdre Lyell:

Midnight Rounds:

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