Maternal Fetal Medicine
Obstetricians may refer women who are pregnant, or trying to get pregnant,
to our department of Maternal Fetal Medicine. Our specialists provide
perinatology consultations, high-resolution ultrasound studies, genetic
counseling, genetic diagnostic procedures, and more. With state-of-the-art
testing, imaging, and charting technologies, our comprehensive team of
Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists, are equipped to give our high-risk
patients comprehensive, compassionate, and personalized prenatal care.
The Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine is comprised of a comprehensive
and knowledgeable team consisting of a perinatologist (an obstetrician
who is board-certified in Maternal Fetal Medicine and specializes in high-risk
pregnancies), perinatal sonographers, genetic counselors, and a perinatal nurse.
Each member of our team has specialized training in the effective management
of difficult and high-risk pregnancies.
Perinatal Consultations: High-risk obstetric problems may involve medical conditions that existed
prior to pregnancy, conditions that develop during pregnancy, or problems
involving the current pregnancy. An obstetrician may request a perinatologist’s
review of a patient’s medical history with the patient and her family.
After the consultation, a recommendation for care is forwarded to the
referring obstetrician for review with their patient.
Genetic Consultation: Genetic counseling may be recommended for families with a history of birth
defects, mental retardation, or other potential genetic problems. All
patients referred for consideration of an amniocentesis or chorionic villus
sampling (CVS), will have the opportunity to discuss their situation with
a genetic counselor for a birth defect risk assessment and a discussion
of the procedures.
Ultrasound: Fetal ultrasound is a test performed during pregnancy that uses reflected
sound waves to produce a picture of the baby, the placenta, and the amniotic
fluid. The picture is displayed on a small screen and the images (sometimes
called sonograms, echograms or scans) are usually saved as part of the
baby’s record. Ultrasound is the safest way to check for problems
and get information about your baby, such as its size and position. It
does not use X-rays or other types of radiation that may harm a developing
baby. It can be done as early as the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy.
Noninvasive Prenatal Testing: Noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is a blood test drawn in the office
that examines your baby’s DNA in the mother’s blood to assess
a risk for Down syndrome, extra copies of chromosomes 13 and 18, sex chromosome
abnormalities and determines the baby’s gender. Noninvasive prenatal
testing might help avoid the need for further tests that could put a pregnancy
at risk for miscarriage.
Amniocentesis: Amniocentesis is a prenatal screening test in which a small amount of
amniotic fluid is removed from the sac surrounding the baby for testing.
The sample of amniotic fluid, usually less than an ounce, is removed through
a fine needle inserted into the uterus through the abdomen, under the
guidance of ultrasound technology. Once removed, the fluid is sent to
a laboratory for analysis. A number of different tests can be performed
on a sample of amniotic fluid, depending on the genetic risk and the nature
of the need for the test.
Non-Stress Test: As part of a woman’s prenatal care, her obstetrician may require
a non-stress test. This test is used to check the well-being of the developing
baby. Reasons for requesting such a test include evaluating the health
of babies of mothers with diabetes, high blood pressure, preterm labor,
pregnancy past the due date, abnormal fetal growth, and a decrease in
the baby’s movements. The test is a simple, painless procedure where
a fetal monitor is placed on the mother’s abdomen to record the
baby’s heart rate and movement.
First Trimester NT Test: This nuchal translucency scan, or NT test as it is more commonly known,
can help the obstetrician assess a baby’s risk of having Down syndrome,
other chromosomal abnormalities, or major congenital heart problems. The
NT test uses ultrasound to measure the clear (translucent) space in the
tissue at the back of the developing baby’s neck, and must be done
between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy. This test is accompanied by a blood
test which analyzes the blood for two specific hormones that are present
in the blood of pregnant women. Though the NT test cannot confirm diagnosis,
the combined results can estimate the level of risk for these conditions.
Maternal Fetal Medicine at Saint Clare’s
23 Pocono Road, Denville, NJ 07834