Doctors who manage high-risk pregnancies, called maternal-fetal specialists or perinatologists, have specialized training in handling the common and uncommon problems that accompany many pregnancies. Sometimes they are called in to deal with existing problems; other times they manage pregnancies from the beginning because an expectant mother may have an especially high risk of developing complications. They will often work with a woman’s obstetrician, or may take over care when a high-risk designation is given.
Perinatology is a subspecialty of obstetrics and gynecology. In addition to the same education and training as an OB-GYN, perinatologists additionally undergo three years of specialized training. They are particularly equipped to handle mothers with significant medical conditions, and fetuses who are at risk because of genetic, environmental or other factors.
Tools of the Trade
Maternal-fetal specialists may rely on a number of tools to diagnose and treat problematic medical conditions. These can include:
- Chorionic villus sampling
- Electronic Fetal Monitoring
Conditions For Which a Maternal-Fetal Specialist May be Required
There is a litany of complications for which a maternal-fetal specialist may be required. In order to anticipate possible problems, a specialist may be required when one or more of the following occurs during a pregnancy:
- Advanced maternal age (mother over 35 years old)
- Prior abortions or other abdominal surgeries
- Twins, triplets or other multiples
- Several prior miscarriages
- Complications in prior pregnancies, including preeclampsia, eclampsia and preterm labor
- Expected macrosomia (large baby)
- Family history of genetic disorders
- Substance abuse
If you had any high-risk medical conditions and your doctor did not assign a maternal-fetal specialist, contact our medical malpractice attorneys. We can help you to determine if a specialist should have been monitoring your pregnancy and labor. For more information call us at (440) 252-4399 or online for a free consultation.