Maternal fetal medicine is a subspecialty of obstetrics, also known as perinatology. A maternal fetal medicine specialist (perinatologist) treat mothers and infants during high-risk pregnancies.

The maternal fetal medicine team at Catholic Health offers expert guidance and counseling during pre-conception and pregnancy for women who may be or are high-risk. We work with patients to develop a care plan that addresses each individual’s medical history and needs.

What is Considered a High-Risk Pregnancy?

Hearing that your pregnancy is considered high-risk can be scary, but it doesn’t mean that it will be more difficult than someone who is low-risk. Many cases of high-risk pregnancies are caused by pre-existing conditions like diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, or lupus. Family history of genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia can also make your pregnancy high-risk.

Other considerations for high-risk pregnancies include previous stillbirths or miscarriage, having multiples, pregnancy in women 35 years or older, and a history of complications like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or early labor.

Can My Obstetrician Treat High-Risk Pregnancies?

Similar to an obstetrician, perinatologists offer pre and postnatal care. Perinatologists go through the same schooling and training as OB/GYNs, but spend an extra 2-3 years training to treat pregnancy-related complications. They offer a different level of care and treatment than an OB/GYN by specializing in diagnosing and treating complex conditions.

Under the care of a perinatologist, women who are high-risk will undergo closer monitoring. Again, having the previously mentioned conditions only slightly increases your risk of complications, it is not an affirmation or guarantee that anything will happen to jeopardize the health of you or your baby. Should any unexpected risks arise such as bleeding or early labor, your perinatologist is specially trained to provide expert care to both you and your baby.

Your perinatologist won’t replace your primary obstetrician, instead they become part of your pregnancy care team. Adding a perinatologist to your care team means extra precaution to keep you and your baby safe. Your care team may also include a neonatologist and pediatrician.

Expert Care Every Step of the Way

A referral to a perinatologist can seem scary, but it is simply an extra step to ensure both you and your baby experience a safe pregnancy and delivery. The perinatologists at Catholic Health are highly trained in handling the most complex pregnancy cases. You can trust that you and your baby will receive the highest level of care before, during and after your pregnancy.

The maternal fetal medicine and OB/GYN teams at Catholic Health are partners in your pregnancy journey, and provide the best specialized care for mom and baby. To learn more about our maternal fetal medicine care, call 716-706-2112.