Walter Harry, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine and genetics physician with Franciscan Health, discusses when to see a maternal-fetal medicine specialist for high risk pregnancy.
Q: Who Should See a Maternal-Fetal Specialist?
A: Many women expecting a child experience what we call routine pregnancies, ones in which there are no major health concerns or pre-existing medical conditions for mom and baby.
But sometimes a woman’s health can put her or her baby at risk. For instance, if a mother has diabetes, high blood pressure, is 35 or older and pregnant for the first time, is having twins or triplets or if there are other medical concerns that could complicate a pregnancy, she probably will be referred to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist.
Other factors that can affect a pregnancy include kidney disease, autoimmune disease, infertility, obesity, and polycystic ovary syndrome.
As a board-certified maternal fetal physician, I completed four years of obstetrics and gynecology training plus another couple of years of additional education and experience for those non-routine pregnancies. My practice is limited to helping women and babies at every stage of high-risk pregnancies. And my goal is to help each patient manage her health concerns, related or unrelated to her pregnancy, and to address the health needs of her child.
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