Maternal Fetal Medicine
If you have a high-risk pregnancy, rely on the expertise of a maternal fetal medicine (MFM) doctor at Virginia Hospital Center for the care you and your baby needs. For your convenience and peace of mind, we offer same-day urgent appointments, extended hours and telehealth visits.
A high-risk pregnancy is when you or your baby have a higher risk of complications during pregnancy or after birth. An MFM doctor can monitor your health and diagnose and treat prenatal conditions to reduce your risk of problems.
When should I See an MFM Doctor?
MFM doctors work with you to monitor your health throughout pregnancy to reduce your risk of complications. MFM doctors provide specialized care if you are pregnant and:
- Are a teenager or over 35 years old
- Are pregnant with more than one baby
- Develop preeclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy)
- Experience vaginal bleeding or decreased fetal activity during pregnancy
- Have a family history of genetic conditions
- Had complications during a past pregnancy
- Have a chronic (long-term) condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or a thyroid problem
- Smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs while pregnant
Specialty Care for You & Baby
Depending on your needs, your MFM specialist may recommend:
- Antenatal testing – Looks for signs of a problem in your baby’s development
- Doppler velocimetry – Checks the umbilical cord for healthy blood flow between the placenta (organ that provides nourishment to the baby) and uterus
- First trimester nuchal translucency screening – Measures the space behind your baby’s neck to check fluid levels that may indicate Down syndrome or another abnormality
Treatment & Services
- Preconception counseling – Prepares you to have the healthiest possible pregnancy
- Cerclage placement – Sews the cervix shut to prevent premature (early) labor
- Diabetes care – Treatment and monitoring of diabetes during pregnancy
- External cephalic version – Turns a baby into a head-down position
- Fetal therapies – Treats conditions while your baby is in your womb
Access accurate and safe imaging services from a registered diagnostic medical sonographer (RDMS). Your doctor may recommend:
- Fetal ultrasound, or sonogram – Uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the baby in the womb
- Fetal echocardiogram – Checks the health of your baby’s heart using ultrasound technology
For your baby’s safety, these tests do not use radiation. You and your doctor will discuss your results on the same day as your imaging test.
Partner with a certified genetic counselor if you have a personal or family history of genetic conditions. Depending on your health history, you may receive genetic testing in your first trimester (ten to 13 weeks of your pregnancy). These prenatal genetic tests may include:
- Cell-free DNA testing – Tests cells from the placenta to screen for any abnormalities
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) – Removes and tests fluid from the sac around your baby to look for genetic disorders
Your Care Team
Your multidisciplinary care team will be led by an MFM physician. Expect the best care knowing your doctor has training and experience caring for complications in pregnancy. Rely on your MFM to work with:
- Genetic counselor with experience assessing genetic disorders
- Nurses with training in maternal fetal health
- Certified sonographer with advanced training to provide images of your baby’s growth and development
Your care team is available to answer your questions and listen to your concerns. For your convenience and peace of mind, we offer same-day urgent appointments and extended hours of availability.
Your doctor may recommend staying in the hospital for close monitoring and specialized care if you have or are at-risk for certain pregnancy complications. Expect high-quality, compassionate attention from an experienced team in our antepartum unit, a setting dedicated to the needs of expectant mothers.
The Marjorie Sands Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
Our partnership with Children’s National Health System means that our babies have the best care, right here in the community. Children’s National ranked #1 in neonatology in the U.S. News Best Children’s Hospital rankings for 2019-2020 for the third year in a row. Expert neonatologists from Children’s National are on staff in our NICU every day. As a Level III NICU, we can care for infants of any weight and age.
More than 100 NICU team members from Children’s National and Virginia Hospital Center work together to provide the best care for our babies. Our team includes:
- Pediatric cardiologists
- Physician assistants
- Neonatal nurse practitioners
- Registered nurses
- Lactation consultants
- Occupational therapists
- Respiratory therapists
- Case managers
The NICU's Book Buddies program enjoys the support of trained volunteers who spend time reading children's stories aloud to babies at their bedside. Learn more here about this special program and our NICU.