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Frequently Asked Questions

Why might you be referred to an MFM specialist?

Most women self-refer or are referred by their Obstetrician or another medical provider (cardiologist, hematologist, or rheumatologist) either because they are considering becoming pregnant and are “at risk” or because they are pregnant and “high-risk”, experiencing complications or otherwise worried about their pregnancies.

What are examples of patients seen by MFM specialists?

Patients undergoing diagnostic or therapeutic procedures, such as:

  • Comprehensive ultrasound
  • Genetic and maturity amniocentesis
  • Fetal treatment (medications to slow down or speed up the fetal heart, medications to accelerate lung maturity)
  • Fetal echocardiogram (advanced assessment of the fetal heart anatomy and function)
  • Fetal Doppler studies (advanced assessment of the fetal circulatory system and placenta)

Women with medical disorders, such as:

  • Heart disease (valvular stenosis or regurgitation, heart failure, irregular heartbeats)
  • Hypertension
  • Preeclampsia (high-blood pressure at the end of pregnancy)
  • Diabetes, hypo- or hyper-thyroidism
  • Kidney failure or gastrointestinal disease
  • Infectious diseases
  • Autoimmune disease such as Systemic Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis

Healthy women whose pregnancies are at markedly increased risk for adverse outcomes, such as:

  • Abnormal screening for Down Syndrome, Trisomy-18, or Spina Bifida
  • Expecting twins, triplets, or more
  • History of a preterm birth
  • Recurrent premature labor
  • Preterm premature rupture of the membranes
  • Suspected growth restriction (baby not growing enough)

How do MFM specialists complement your Ob/Gyn?

After graduating from medical school and completing four years of Obstetrics and Gynecology residency, MFM specialists also complete two or three years of a MFM fellowship. Fellowship training provides additional education and practical experience for special competence in various obstetrical, medical, and surgical complications of pregnancy. As a result of this training, the MFM specialist provides care or consultation for both mother and fetus (unborn baby) in a complicated pregnancy. In addition, he/she provides education to patients, is involved in community programs, and advises other doctors. MFM specialists also conduct research to improve healthcare delivery and undertake continuing education to learn the cutting-edge developments for optimal management of complicated pregnancies.

How is care coordinated between your Ob/Gyn and an MFM specialist?

Many Ob/Gyns are also qualified by training and experience to solely manage complicated pregnancies. MFM specialists are complementary to Ob/Gyns in providing – when requested – consultations and co-management of complicated patients both before (pre-conception counseling) and during pregnancy. MFM physicians may also collaborate with family medicine physicians, internists, and certified nurse midwives/nurse practitioners. The relationship between your primary healthcare provider and the MFM specialist will depend upon the acuity of your condition.