Maternal fetal medicine (also known as perinatology) balances the health concerns for both the parent (or gestational carrier) and baby throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery. We pay special attention to high-risk pregnancies, meaning a preexisting condition or one developed during pregnancy leads to a higher-than-normal chance of complications for the parent and baby.
Paving the way for a smooth path to parenthood
When you’re pregnant, you want to do everything you can to ensure that the baby is healthy — and so do we. Maternal fetal medicine is an important part of pregnancy for people who:
- Are considered a high-risk pregnancy
- Develop medical problems during pregnancy
- Have obstetrical complications or fetal abnormalities
For some individuals and couples, parenthood begins even before conception. Preconception and prenatal genetic counseling can shed light on genetic conditions you may be living with that can get passed down to your child. Our goal is to help you choose the reproductive options that are best for you and your family.
Different factors that can lead to a high-risk pregnancy, like:
We perform the following health screenings and tests during pregnancy to track you and your baby's overall wellbeing:
- Chorionic villus sampling
- Preconception + prenatal genetic counseling
- Fetal blood sampling
- Nuchal translucency screening
- Prenatal diagnostic ultrasound
- Routine and targeted sonographic examination
We offer preconception and prenatal counseling to better provide parents with the information they need to make informed decisions about family planning. Counseling helps put genetics into perspective so you can weigh your family planning options should you be a carrier for a genetic mutation.
Standard prenatal screenings often look for Down syndrome. Your OBGYN may recommend pursuing additional testing if:
- You're having trouble getting pregnant or have had multiple miscarriages.
- You have a family history of a specific genetic condition.
- You have an ethnic background (e.g. Jewish, African American, French Canadian) in which some genetic diseases are more prevalent.
- Your OBGYN has determined the baby is at risk for a genetic syndrome.
When we’re caring for two – the baby and you – going above and beyond on perinatal care is just what the doctor ordered. We understand that pregnancy can foster emotional and physical highs and lows, so we’re here to support you every step of the way.
And should your care plan call for emergency or precautionary care, we perform the following procedures and operative treatments.
Fetal blood transfusion
It’s possible for a baby to develop anemia in the womb. Fetal anemia is a condition where the baby’s red blood count is too low. A baby may develop fetal anemia because their blood type is incompatible with the parent's. The good news is that the the medication RhoGAM® has almost eliminated the risk of fetal anemia among high-risk pregnancies.
Fetal anemia can be life threatening, which is why fetal blood transfusions must happen as soon as your doctor confirms a diagnosis. A fetal blood transfusion replaces red blood cells your baby needs for healthy development. It works by using an ultrasound machine to locate the umbilical cord, then inserting a needle into the umbilical cord to transfuse blood.
Fetal shunting is a treatment for a baby with too much fluid in their chest. This fluid can build around the lungs and threaten a baby’s health. Fetal shunting involves inserting a tube (a shunt) to drain fluid from the baby’s body to the fluid around the baby.
You may have heard of an "amniocentesis," when we use an ultrasound to guide a needle into the amniotic fluid to take samples. A "cordocentesis" uses the ultrasound to guide a needle to sample the umbilical cord. Similar to how we described the way transfusions are done.