“There's a beautiful little boy walking around Beijing with my first name.” Dr. Adré du Plessis, Director of the Prenatal Pediatrics Institute at Children’s National Hospital, recalls an incident several years back when he and his wife, Dr. Catherine Limperopoulos, Director of our Developing Brain Institute, gave an unborn baby a chance for a healthy life. The parents considered ending the pregnancy after an MRI showed a likely abnormality. The doctors examined the images (while on vacation) and agreed what they were looking at was benign. Little Adré entered the world soon afterwards. The happy family still sends Dr. du Plessis photos.
A world-renowned child neurologist, Dr. du Plessis focuses on the prenatal and newborn brain. He directs a collaborative, multidisciplinary pediatric team that uses cutting-edge imaging technology and diagnostics to identify potential problems before a baby is born. Then, they develop interventions and treatment plans for the mother during pregnancy, for delivery and the newborn’s critical first moments and days after birth.
“In the first 300 days after birth, the brain goes through far more development than in the remainder of the lifespan,” Dr. du Plessis says. “We need to get to our babies earlier to understand their distress calls prior to birth.”
Dr. du Plessis’ vision and leadership take prenatal pediatrics to the highest levels of innovation and patient care. He underscores the importance of prevention over cure. The work of the Prenatal Pediatrics Institute paves the way for healthier outcomes for children throughout their life.
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