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What is Perinatology?
This is a branch of medicine that is a subspecialty of obstetrics and it focuses on the care of the fetus and the mother before during and shortly after pregnancy. It also deals with high-risk pregnancies that are complicated. Perinatology is also known as maternal-fetal medicine (MFM).Who is a perinatologist?
Medical doctors who practice perinatology are known as maternal-fetal specialists or perinatologists. They are specialists in the field of obstetrics and may perform any prenatal tests required, provide necessary treatments and perform relevant surgeries. Although it is highly advised to consult with a perinatologist in high risk and complicated pregnancies, you can consult with one during a low-risk pregnancy. They closely work with neonatologists and pediatricians after birth. They also assist the mother with complications caused by the pregnancy and pre-existing health conditions or concerns.What services do they provide?
What training do perinatologists have?
- Complications can arise during pregnancy and maternal-fetal specialists provide the best care and management to the mother and fetus.
- They can do a consult or be the primary obstetrician.
- They also follow up with the patient postpartum and monitor any arising health issues.
- Perinatologists strive to improve mother and fetus health by preventative measures, diagnosis, treatment and management through education, training and research.
Some of the tests perinatologists are specialists in performing include:
- Perinatologists are medical doctors who have had four years of residency training in gynecology and obstetrics. They also have an additional two to three years training in the diagnosis, treatment and management of disorders affecting the mother and fetus.
- Perinatologists have to train in invasive prenatal diagnosis, obstetric ultrasound, and management of high-risk pregnancies. Some have additional training in the field of prenatal therapy and fetal diagnosis.
Who does a perinatologist treat?
- Amniocentesis: This test is used to diagnose fetal infections and chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome. It is also used to determine the sex of a child. The test is also known as the amniotic fluid test.
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS): This determines the genetic or chromosomal disorders in the fetus. It involves sampling of the placental tissue (chorionic villus) and then testing it for any chromosomal abnormalities.
- Cardiotocography (CTG): This test is used to record uterine contractions and the fetal heartbeat during pregnancy. This test is also known as the nonstress test.
- Ultrasound: This test is used to visualize the fetus during routine and emergency prenatal care.
- Fetoscopy: This is an endoscopic procedure that allows access to the fetus, umbilical cord, amniotic cavity and the fetal side of the placenta during pregnancy.
- Open fetal surgery: This involves opening the uterus completely so as to operate on the fetus.
- Fetal blood sampling and transfusion
- Pregnant women who have conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, and thrombophilia
- Pregnant women who are at high risk of pregnancy-related complications such as pre-eclampsia, preterm labor, and multiple pregnancies
- Pregnant women whose fetuses are at risk due to congenital or chromosomal abnormalities, infections, maternal disease, growth restriction and genetic diseases
- Pregnant women with drug use before or during pregnancy
- Women who have difficulty conceiving
Learn more about Prenatology