For expectant families, the anticipation of having a baby is both joyous and exciting. While most pregnancies proceed without complications, some women may need to be watched more closely and/or require additional testing. In this case, your primary obstetric care provider or infertility specialist may suggest you consult with a Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) physician, also called a perinatologist.
What does a Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) physician do?
Maternal-Fetal Medicine physicians are obstetricians who have several additional years of training in the management of obstetrical, medical and surgical complications of pregnancy. They specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing care of expectant mothers and their unborn babies who may be at high risk for special health challenges. Your primary obstetric care provider may refer you to an MFM physician if he/she sees the potential for a pregnancy related health concern or if a problem develops during the course of your pregnancy.
Seeking care from an MFM physician does not necessarily mean that your pregnancy will be difficult or that your baby will have health challenges. It simply means that your care providers are taking precautionary measures to ensure that you and your baby receive the best care possible, while putting your mind at ease.
Who might be referred to a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist?
You may be referred to a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist if you have any of the following pregnancy-related conditions:
- Abnormalities of Fetal Growth
- Abnormal Screening (i.e. first or second trimester serum screen)
- Advanced Maternal Age
- Structural Birth Defects for the Baby
- Fetal Cardiac Arrhythmias
- Genetic Conditions (family history)
- Incompetent Cervix
- Maternal and Fetal Infections
- Multiple Gestation
- Placental Abnormalities
- Preterm Labor
- Premature Rupture of the Membranes
- Prolonged Pregnancy
- Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
- Rh and Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus
- Teratogen Exposures
Or, if you have a maternal medical disorders that may include:
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Birth Defects or Genetic Conditions (family history)
- Cardiac Disease
- Clotting or Bleeding Disorders
- Gastrointestinal Disorders
- Renal Disease
- Seizures or other Neurological Disorders
- Thyroid problems
The Center for Prenatal Diagnosis and Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Genetics Center
Located adjacent to St. Vincent Women’s Hospital, our Center for Prenatal Diagnosis, and Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Genetics Center are two full-service practices offering maternal and fetal medical care, monitoring, state-of-the-art diagnostic testing, genetic counseling, ultrasound examinations, and high-risk pregnancy management and consultation. Our team of expert physicians, nurses and staff work together with your primary obstetric care provider to develop and execute a care plan tailored to your personal needs and medical history.
For women with pre-existing medical conditions or a history of prior obstetrical complications, we encourage you to seek preconception counseling from one of our Maternal-Fetal Medicine practices. This will provide an opportunity for you to discuss possible health risks and prepare a care plan designed to optimize the outcome of future pregnancies.