Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Duke University Hospital's maternal-fetal medicine specialists (also called perinatologists) follow your pregnancy closely while focusing on personalized care based on your risk factors, lifestyle considerations, and specific health needs.

When the Olaizs learned their unborn baby had a heart condition, they were transferred to Duke's maternal-fetal experts for care during her high-risk pregnancy.

Expert Care for Your High Risk Pregnancy

If you’ve been told you have a “high-risk” pregnancy, you and your baby need extra medical support to ensure you both stay as healthy as possible. Our maternal-fetal experts follow you closely throughout your pregnancy and delivery. We believe that every woman is different, and so is her pregnancy.

We care for women who are carrying multiples (twins, triplets and more), who have a history of pregnancy complications (such as miscarriage, preterm delivery and cervical incompetence) or have an existing medical condition that could affect pregnancy, such as heart disease, diabetes, lupus, or seizure disorder.

Choose Duke for your maternal-fetal medicine care because we offer:

  • A Team Approach. Our maternal-fetal medicine specialists, genetic counselors, specialized ultrasonographers, midwives and nurse practitioners work together to make sure you have the best pregnancy outcome possible. We also work closely with the pediatric specialists in our Level III neonatal intensive care nursery (NICU). They offer specialized medical and surgical care for babies born with birth defects diagnosed in the womb that need immediate care after delivery.
  • Advanced Ultrasound. We offer a wide range of advanced imaging options including targeted fetal ultrasound, fetal echocardiography (ultrasound that studies your baby’s heart and blood flow), and MRI. Our ultrasonographers and Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists are specifically trained to interpret these tests in order to detect and monitor developmental issues that can occur with your baby.
  • Latest Genetic Testing. We offer all aspects of genetic screening including noninvasive and invasive testing. Our genetic counselors work one-on-one with you to identify your baby’s risk factors for fetal diseases and chromosomal abnormalities and help you decide whether to undergo one of our advanced screening options, which range from blood tests to minimally invasive procedures, including amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling, which test for chromosomal abnormalities. If an issue is found, your family may be eligible to participate in our research, which uses advanced genetic technologies available at only a handful major medical centers across the country.  Our goal is to pinpoint the cause of your child’s condition as quickly as possible, then guide the development of your child's treatment plan to possibly prevent, delay, or minimize future complications.
  • Fetal Diagnostic Expertise. Many expectant moms worry about the risk of miscarriage that comes with amniocentesis (less than 0.5 percent) and chorionic villus sampling (0.5 to 1 percent) – the two standard tests used today to diagnose certain chromosomal disorders. We perform a high volume of these procedures. Our experience and skill lower your risk of complications. We also have significant experience with other invasive procedures that are performed on the baby inside the womb if they become necessary. 
  • Personalized Pregnancy Support - We believe that every woman is different, and so is her pregnancy. Our maternal-fetal medicine specialists provide both comprehensive consultation as well as complete obstetric care for high-risk patients. If you have an existing medical condition, we will work with you before you conceive to help you plan for the healthiest pregnancy and delivery possible. Our on-site nutritionist provides support for our patients who have weight or diet related issues. 



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