In cases of high-risk pregnancies, perinatal medicine or neonatology, the CHU Sainte-Justine excels like no other facility in Canada, or even North America.

We care for at-risk newborns—whether premature or not—but more often than you might think, we provide care for moms-to-be who risk their lives to bring new life into the world.

A healthy future for all babies

The CHU  Sainte-Justine is first and foremost a mother-and-child hospital. This vocation, which distinguishes it from other pediatric hospitals, means that the health of mothers and children is considered as a whole and ensures that children receive a continuum of care from birth to adulthood.

Each year, close to 4,000 babies are born at the CHU Sainte-Justine. Most mothers who give birth there are followed at the Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic, formerly known as the High-Risk Pregnancy Clinic (clinique GARE).

The neonatal intensive care unit takes in newborns in difficulty. More than 700 babies are born there each year and some 300 others are transferred to the clinic from other facilities to receive state-of-the-art care.

This unit has 65 beds, making it the largest of its kind in Canada. With profound love and respect, we watch over 27 intensive care bassinets that hold extremely premature babies and those born with complex conditions.

Our facility treats all malfunctioning systems, whether respiratory, cardiovascular, renal, hepatic or cerebral. Our teams perform miracles!

  • Each year, close to 4,000 babies are born at the CHU Sainte-Justine
  • In Quebec, one out of 12 babies is born preterm and 3% of them suffer from congenital defects
  • With its 65 beds, the CHU Sainte-Justine’s neonatal intensive care unit is the largest of its kind in Canada
  • The unit cares for more than 1,100 babies most seriously at risk, a third of whom are transferred from another hospital 

The long journey of two “little ladybugs’’

The biggest dream of Sabrina and Alexandre, already parents of a little girl, was to see their family grow. The path that led to that dream was strewn with obstacles. On February 15, 2016, Alice and Raphaëlle, their twin “little ladybugs”, arrived ahead of schedule, at 24 weeks. 

They knew right away that they would need more than nature’s help to make it. It would take the latest technology, an expert health care team and lots of love.

Tiny Alice and Raphaëlle began their fight to live. They underwent their first surgery at only a few days old, for enterocolitis. Their parents were very worried at the time, but they knew they were in the right place and surrounded by the best specialists. 

The girls were hospitalized for 120 and 143 days, during which the family experienced moments of both great joy and great sorrow, and then a little relief as they approached their release. As their dad said when the countdown started: “Home is at the end of the tunnel.”

For the moment, the girls are experiencing no after-effects from their prematurity. They are bursting with joy and cheerfulness. They also have no memory of neonatology, or the people who took care of them, or the machines that saved their lives. 

But their parents, Sabrina and Alexandre, promised themselves that one day they would tell their daughters how lucky they were to be so well surrounded with care, when their lives were hanging in the balance. 

For ten years, the survival rate of premature babies has been stable and high: 90% of newborns born at 25 weeks are saved. But we must do more than save. That's what we want, my colleagues and I at the CHU Sainte-Justine.

Dr. Annie Janvier

Neonatologist and Clinical Ethicist
CHU Sainte-Justine