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When you are expecting a baby, hearing your obstetrician, or midwife mention that your pregnancy is high risk might be discomforting. A pregnancy is considered high risk when there are potential complications that might harm the mother, the baby, or both. High-risk pregnancies need the care of a specialist to assure the best possible result for the mother and baby. At Fakeeh University Hospital, we provide specialized care and services for high-risk pregnancies, under Fetal Medicine.

Thanks to the new advancements in maternal-fetal care, many pregnancies can be brought to term and the health of preterm newborns can be improved.

It is very natural for any expecting parent to have a dozen questions running in their heads, especially if the pregnancy is high-risk. But fret not. There are special professionals available to help and guide you at every single step, and they are better known as maternal-fetal medicine specialists.

What is Fetal Medicine?

Fetal medicine, often known as maternal-fetal medicine (MFM), is concerned with the health of the mother and fetus before, during, and shortly after pregnancy. Fetal medicine is also known as perinatology.

The MFM specialist is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of women who are pregnant with challenging or high-risk conditions. These physicians are obstetricians who have received additional training in high-risk pregnancy.

Why you might need an MFM specialist

If you have a high-risk pregnancy or are concerned about having a safe pregnancy and delivery, you should consult a MFM specialist. If you fall into the below category/ies, you may be at high risk:

  • You have a history of pregnancy complications, such as premature delivery
  • You are expecting twins, triplets, or more
  • You were aware that you had heart problems, diabetes, autoimmune illnesses, hypertension, seizure disorders, blood clotting disorders, or infections (like HIV or parvovirus) already when you got pregnant
  • Additionally, your MFM specialist can also assist you if you require specialized testing or procedures, or in case during your pregnancy, you or your child experience difficulties. They can also help if the baby has a birth defect or other abnormal ultrasound findings. Moreover, working with a MFM specialist during pregnancy can bring you a sense of security of receiving the finest possible care.
  • We at Fakeeh University Hospital strive to strengthen maternal as well as fetal care. At our hospital, we provide an array of Maternal-Fetal Medicine services. These services include, but are not limited, to:
  • Prenatal Screening: prenatal screening can determine if your baby is more likely or less likely to develop particular birth abnormalities, many of which are genetic. Prenatal screening includes tests like:
  • First-trimester Nuchal Translucency scan (NT scan)
  • NT Scan measures the baby’s nuchal translucency (it is a fluid-filled space at the back of a baby’s neck), to detect chromosomal abnormalities in a fetus.
  • Second-trimester detailed scan (Anatomy Scan): an ultrasound scan, performed between 18 to 20 weeks of pregnancy, helps in evaluating fetal development and detecting potential complications.
  • Fetal Echocardiography: fetal echocardiography employs sound waves to examine your growing baby’s heart. It can detect cardiac abnormalities before birth. The earlier a cardiac condition is identified, the more effective a treatment therapy will be.
  • Doppler Ultrasounds: Unlike a regular ultrasound, Doppler Ultrasound is a noninvasive diagnostic test that employs high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to measure blood flow. The purpose is to detect any abnormalities like a blood clot, blocked artery or decreased blood circulation, etc.
  • Fetal Testing and Treatment (Invasive and Non-invasive): Fetal testing aims to evaluate the health of the fetus. It is important for the doctor to monitor the fetal heart rate and other functions during this stage of pregnancy.
  • Invasive Prenatal Testing: Traditional prenatal diagnosis entails the use of invasive biological material sample procedures. Invasive prenatal testing is done for many reasons, but the most prevalent one is to evaluate the fetus’s genetics. This includes tests like:
  • A. Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
  • It is a type of prenatal diagnostic test which is used to identify chromosomal or genetic abnormalities in the baby.
  • B. Amniocentesis
  • This medical procedure is employed to diagnose chromosomal abnormalities and fetal infections during pregnancy, as well as to determine the sex of your child.
  • C. Fetal Blood Sampling and Transfusion
  • Fetal blood sampling is a process that takes a tiny amount of blood from a pregnant woman’s fetus. On the other hand, fetal blood transfusion is a procedure applied to treat anemia in the fetus.
  • Unlike a regular ultrasound, Doppler Ultrasound is a noninvasive diagnostic test that employs high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to measure blood flow. The purpose is to detect any abnormalities like a blood clot, blocked artery or decreased blood circulation, etc.
  • Therapeutic Amniocentesis or Amnioreduction: Therapeutic amniocentesis is used for withdrawing amniotic fluid from the uterine cavity. It is then utilized to evaluate fetal health. An amnioreduction procedure is used to remove excess amniotic fluid from the fetus.
  • Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT): The Non-Invasive Prenatal Test, or just NIPT, is a novel, extremely sensitive test used in the first trimester of pregnancy to diagnose Down syndrome and other abnormalities in a newborn. This test examines small strands of DNA that travel through the bloodstream of the mother.
  • Screening for Fetal Well-being: This screening is a set of prenatal tests performed to assess the health of a fetus. The tests evaluate a baby’s heart rate, respiration, movements, muscle tone, and amniotic fluid level by combining fetal heart rate monitoring (nonstress test) with fetal ultrasonography.
  • Antenatal management of high risk fetal and maternal conditions: Antenatal care is critical for women and their unborn child’s health and safety. It becomes more critical in the case of a high-risk pregnancy. We provide specialized care and services for high-risk pregnancies such as:
  • Multiple pregnancies (e.g. twins and triplets)
  • Previous pregnancy losses and obstetric complications
  • Care for patients with medical diseases in pregnancy such as hypertension, diabetes, thyroid disorders, renal problems, Lupus, blood disorders, etc.
  • Our highly experienced specialists are here to support you from conception through delivery. Our specialists are highly skilled to care for mothers who are expecting high-risk pregnancies, and they provide prenatal care, fetal imaging, genetic counseling, diagnosis and treatment of exceptional pregnancy conditions. As caregivers, our mission is to offer our patients the guidance and assistance they require to have a successful pregnancy and a healthy child.