Pregnancy is typically a time of great joy and excitement. However, for some women, certain preexisting medical conditions can increase the potential for complications during pregnancy. For others, unexpected complications can arise that require the expertise of a specialist.
Maternal-fetal medicine specialists are obstetrician gynecologists who have completed an additional two to three years of maternal-fetal medicine fellowship following their residencies. They specialize in caring for women who are experiencing high-risk pregnancies and are experts in the various obstetrical, medical and surgical complications that can arise during pregnancy. At Virginia Women’s Center, we understand that complications during pregnancy can be unsettling. That is why we have three maternal-fetal medicine specialists, Dr. Jessica DeMay, Dr. Rodrick Love and Dr. Lisa Troyer, who work closely with our obstetricians to care for patients who are experiencing high-risk pregnancies.
Having to consult with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist is not necessarily a cause for alarm. Most often, maternal-fetal medicine specialists will monitor a patient closely so that the appropriate precautionary measures can be taken to ensure a healthy mom and baby.
Depending on a woman’s medical history and/or conditions, she may only consult with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the beginning of her pregnancy. Other women might need continuous monitoring throughout their pregnancies. It is typically recommended that maternal-fetal medicine specialists care for women who have the following medical disorders:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes or other endocrine disorders
- Kidney or gastrointestinal disease
- Infectious diseases
In addition, the following circumstances will increase a woman’s risk for complications during pregnancy:
- Abnormal AFP (alpha fetoprotein) blood test
- Multiple gestation (twins, triplets or more)
- Recurrent pre-term labor and delivery
- Premature rupture of membranes
- Recurrent pregnancy loss
- Suspected fetal growth restriction (baby not growing enough)
As many new moms will tell you, pregnancy, labor and delivery often go differently than they had envisioned. For Virginia Women’s Center patients who encounter complications during pregnancy, they can rest assured that a maternal-fetal medicine specialist will collaborate closely with their obstetrician to provide quality and compassionate care. Not to mention, having your appointment with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the same time and office as your obstetrician can help save you time and gas money (and we can benefit from that!).