“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” – Helen Keller

What is maternal foetal medicine?

Maternal foetal medicine (MFM) is the special care of a pregnant mother and baby before birth. Maternal foetal medicine specialists recommend screening tests to check that the baby and mother's health parameters are as they should be. If any irregularities are detected, they are treated. Maternal foetal medicine also includes the care of women who have high-risk pregnancies.

Possible Causes:

Maternal foetal medicine (MFM) refers to the care of the baby inside the mother’s womb. A foetal medicine specialist recommends screening tests to rule out abnormalities which may be related to growth, genetics, high blood pressure etc. He assesses the environment in which the foetus is growing, diagnoses and manages irregularities related to the growth and structure of organs. 

MFM specialists are trained to handle high-risk pregnancies. A high-risk pregnancy may be due to:

  • Pre-existing health conditions of the mother, such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases.
  • Placenta problems.
  • Weakening of the cervix.
  • Mother’s age over 35.
  • Foetal problems such as heart defects or others.
  • More than one foetus.

Risk Factors:

You may need a MFM specialist if:

  • You are expecting more than one baby.
  • You had any of these conditions before becoming pregnant – heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, blood clotting disorder or certain infections.
  • You had complications during a previous pregnancy.
  • You may also need an MFM specialist if any pregnancy or foetal problems are noticed.

Signs & Symptoms:

Some of the signs and symptoms that will need the attention of MFM specialists include:

  • Amniotic fluid complications – too little or too much fluid in the sac around the foetus.
  • Vaginal bleeding.
  • Placental complications.
  • Any potential foetal abnormality suspected.

Diagnosis:

There are a number of tests used by MFM specialists to monitor the health of the mother and development of the foetus. Every pregnant woman is offered 3 routine scans:

  • 11- 14 weeks scan (FTS)
  • 18 – 22 weeks (Anomaly/level 2/target scan)
  • 28 – 35 weeks (growth scan)

These scans help doctors diagnose Down syndrome, abnormal placenta function and other abnormalities as early as 11-14 weeks in the foetus. It also estimates the age of the baby and if there are multiple pregnancies.The scans during the second trimester check the health and position of the placenta, water level and baby’s growth . In the third trimester the growth scan is done primarily to check the growth velocity , foetal heart rate and measurements that denote proper growth.

The other tests and scans include:

  • Amniocentesis.
  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS).
  • Foetal blood sampling and intrauterine transfusion.
  • Foetal echocardiogram.
  • Foetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Genetic testing.
  • Ultrasound and Doppler ultrasound.

Treatment Options:

Pregnancies with complex problems are usually handled by a multi-disciplinary team, made up of MFM specialists, as well as specialized foetal surgeons and experts in treating children with congenital conditions. 

Treatment options depend on the nature of the complexity and may include treatment to be administered to the uterus as well as foetal surgeries or interventions.

FAQs: الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • How do I know whether I should consult a maternal foetal medicine specialist?

    A: You don’t need to worry on this account. If your obstetrician feels the need, she or he will call in an MFM specialist.

  • Is an ultrasound safe for my baby?

    A: When conducted by a qualified professional, an ultrasound will not harm your baby in any way. An ultrasound works by using sound waves which do not pose a risk. And an ultrasound test offers a tremendous benefit of highlighting any possible risks or abnormalities, and enabling your doctors to take prompt action.

  • Why do I need to get genetic tests done during my pregnancy?

    A: Your doctor may prescribe certain genetic tests during your pregnancy. These tests check your baby’s genes for conditions such as Down syndrome, Trisomy, spinal or brain problems, heart problems or kidney problems.

  • What does fetal medicine mean?

    A: Fetal medicine is a branch of medicine that looks after the health of the mother and the foetus before, during, and after the pregnancy. A fetal medicine specialist is a gynaecologist who has studied high-risk pregnancies for an additional 2-3 years.  

    So if you have a high-risk pregnancy, your general obstetrician is likely to recommend you to a fetal medicine specialist.  
     

  • How can a fetal medicine doctor help me?

    A: These doctors usually look after conditions such as early labour, bleeding, diabetes, kidney infection, high blood pressure, etc., during your pregnancy. They can also be recommended in case of multiple pregnancies, which involves being pregnant with more than one baby. For example, twins, triplets or more. 

    Lastly, they also look after the foetus in case of congenital disabilities or growth problems to prevent potential complications that may arise.

    Wondering if you need a fetal medicine specialist? Get a consultation at Medcare today.
     

  • What are the most common fetal anomalies?

    A: While most babies born are healthy, it is estimated that three out of every 100 babies are born with fetal anomalies or congenital disabilities.  

    The most common fetal anomalies that are observed around the world include heart defects, Down's Syndrome, neural tube defects, and cleft lip or palate. Although genetic factors can cause fetal anomalies, there are also nutritional and environmental factors that may be responsible for specific congenital disabilities. 

    This is why during your pregnancy, it is essential to have a good gynaecologist by your side who will provide guidance for a proper diet, correct prenatal vitamins and also advise you on what precautions to take to ensure a safe pregnancy. 

    Need an expert to guide you during a high-risk pregnancy? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.
     

  • What is a high-risk pregnancy doctor called?

    A: A pregnancy is considered high-risk if there is a possibility of complications arising that may harm the mother, the baby or sometimes even both. High-risk pregnancies usually require a specialised doctor to ensure that everything goes smoothly before, during, and after childbirth. These doctors are more commonly known as fetal medicine specialists or perinatologists. 

    Being equipped with specialised training to handle such cases and any complications that may be involved, they are the ideal option for women who are at risk of high-risk pregnancies. So, if you are experiencing any abnormal symptoms, consult a specialist today. 

    Are you looking for a doctor who specialises in high-risk pregnancies? Visit Medcare today.

  • What does a high risk pregnancy doctor do?

    A: Cases of high-risk pregnancy are usually referred to as a specialised doctor who is popularly known as a fetal medicine specialist or a perinatologist. These specialised doctors are trained to handle complications and ensure safe childbirth for both, the mother and the baby.  

    They work together with a specialised medical team to ensure everything goes smoothly until the very end. The doctor may suggest alterations to the patient's medications to decrease any adverse effects. Lastly, the care provided by them is extensive to the point that they even review your diet plan thoroughly.

    Are you looking for a perinatologist? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • Why would I be referred to fetal medicine doctor?

    A: You will be referred to a fetal medicine doctor if there is a probability of you having a high-risk pregnancy. Factors that determine a high-risk pregnancy can include having a pre-existing medical condition, like high blood pressure or diabetes, being too young or old for childbirth or carrying twins or triplets. 

  • How can a fetal medicine doctor help me?

    A: A fetal medicine doctor will provide you with the extra assistance you need to ensure you have a safe delivery and will also take care of your baby's health. The doctor will carefully monitor your medications, diet, and any further risks you may be prone to during your pregnancy. 

    Book your appointment with a Medcare specialist to ensure a smooth pregnancy and safe childbirth.
     

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