Center for Advanced Obstetrical Care & Research (CAOCR)

About the Program

The Center for Advanced Obstetrical Care and Research (CAOCR) was created in 2008 for the single purpose of providing the most advanced obstetrical care available anywhere to mothers and their unborn babies. The Center achieves its purpose by providing excellent and compassionate patient care combined with world class research and the education of tomorrow’s care givers.

While Wayne State University (WSU) and the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) are primary affiliates, the Center is an integral part of, and receives its major funding from, the Perinatal Research Branch (PRB) of The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Center serves the needs of expectant mothers with normal pregnancies as well as mothers with pregnancies complicated by conditions such as premature labor, premature cervical shortening, diabetes, as well as hypertensive disorders like chronic hypertension and pre-eclampsia.  Direct patient care in the Center is provided by a team including physicians who specialize in Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Fetal Ultrasonography, Certified Nurse Midwifes, Registered Nurses, Ultrasound Technicians, in addition to Medical and Administrative Assistants. The Center has developed a worldwide network of colleagues and collaborators which enhances the ability of the Center’s care team to ensure excellent care for even the rarest disorders.

The pregnant women who receive their care in the Center have volunteered to participate in various research studies sponsored by the PRB. They understand that although these studies may not directly benefit them, or their children, during their current pregnancies, they realize research is the key to eventually solving the problems that jeopardize pregnancies everywhere. All studies conducted by the Center are rigorously reviewed by government and university mandated committees that are not part of the PRB. The members of these committees ensure both the safety and ethical soundness of all research proposals before they are initiated by the Center.

Additional Services Offered by the CAOCR:

  • A fetal ultrasonography team led by an internationally recognized expert using some of the most advanced ultrasound equipment in the world
  • Genetic counseling, screening and diagnostic procedures (e.g. chorionic villus sampling, CVS or amniocentesis for both maternal and fetal conditions)
  • Access to fetal interventions including intrauterine transfusions and fetal shunt placements

Conditions Managed by the CAOCR’s Care Team:

  • Patients with a history of premature labor and/or premature birth
  • Cervical insufficiency
  • Maternal medical conditions including, but not limited to:
    • Diabetes
    • Kidney disease
    • Cardiac disease
    • Thyroid disorders
    • Lupus
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Asthma
    • Sickle cell and Beta thalassemia diseases
    • Rh disease
    • Hypertension
    • Preeclampsia
    • Cholelithiasis of pregnancy
  • Fetal anomalies like cardiac and brain defects
  • Twins and higher order multiple gestations
  • We provide counseling, prenatal care, referrals, and testing for patients with a personal or family history of genetic disorders

Social and Environmental Aspects of Care Facilitated by the CAOCR:

  • We partner with Wayne State University’s Make Your Date, an organization using evidence-based strategies to reduce the rate of premature birth
  • Referrals for mental and behavioral health issues
  • Birthing classes
  • Breastfeeding instruction
  • Diabetic education and Dietician counseling

Information for Patients

If you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, and would like to receive your prenatal care along with a chance to participate in the Center’s research mission while receiving some of the highest quality prenatal care available anywhere, use the following contact information:

The Center for Advanced Obstetrical Care and Research (CAOCR)
Hutzel Women’s Hospital
4 Webber North (4th Floor)
3990 John R
Detroit, Michigan, 48201

Or call (313) 577-8832 (preferred) to make an appointment with us. Transportation services are typically available for all appointments if needed.



  • To discover and study biomarkers for the prediction of the great obstetrical syndromes (e.g. preeclampsia, fetal growth restriction), including personalized assessment
  • To execute longitudinal research protocols and studies of the PRB in normal and high-risk pregnancies through data collection, biological specimen retrieval, sonographic examination of the mother and fetus, etc.

Research Highlights

Pioneering work and scientific accomplishments of the PRB have changed the practice of medicine and improved knowledge about the pathophysiology of the great obstetrical syndromes. For example, the use of vaginal progesterone to prevent preterm birth in women with a sonographic short cervix has become a standard of care, and has the potential to save the U.S. $500 – 750 million annually in avoided healthcare costs.

Select scientific accomplishments related to research conducted at the CAOCR include:

  • Developed a customized approach to cervical length assessment which improves the prediction of spontaneous preterm birth
  • Discovered that a low maternal angiogenic index-1 at 24-28 weeks of gestation identifies subsequent fetal death
  • Developed a “proteomic clock” of normal pregnancy, comprised of proteins that change with gestational age (this will serve as the foundation for discovery of proteomic biomarkers of adverse pregnancy outcomes)
  • Created a new customized fetal growth standard for African American women
  • Discovered the first biomarker for placental vascular disease, which is predictive as early as the mid-trimester of pregnancy
  • Demonstrated that sonographic elastography of the uterine cervix can be used for risk assessment of preterm birth in the mid-trimester
  • Developed Fetal Intelligent Navigation Echocardiography (FINE), a novel sonographic advance that allows the automatic display of nine standard fetal cardiac views required to diagnose most cardiac defects; this technology is now available on several commercially available ultrasound systems (known as 5D Heart)
  • Developed Color Doppler FINE, a technologic advance that provides clinically useful information about fetal cardiac structure / function in normal and abnormal fetal hearts; this technology has been successfully integrated into commercially available ultrasound systems (known as 5D Heart Color)
  • Developed a novel sonographic approach to evaluate fetal growth, known as Individualized Growth Assessment (IGA)
  • Reported a detailed longitudinal characterization of the cellular transcriptome in the maternal circulation during normal pregnancy
  • Proposed that an imbalance in angiogenic / anti-angiogenic factors is predictive of massive perivillous fibrin deposition, which results in recurrent fetal death and growth restriction
  • Identification of biomarkers for the prediction of preeclampsia and delivery of small for gestational age neonates
  • Identification of amniotic fluid sludge as a predictor of preterm birth
  • Proposed a mid-trimester sonographic short cervix as a biomarker for prediction of spontaneous preterm birth, and demonstrated that vaginal progesterone reduces the rate of preterm birth by 45%
  • Determined a sonographic short cervix as the only clinical manifestation of intra-amniotic infection

Select Publications


Certified Nurse-Midwives