Duke’s maternal-fetal medicine specialists offer the best care possible for high risk pregnancies. Our OB-GYN program is one of the best in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report, due to the comprehensive services we offer, the high volume of patients we treat and the expertise of our doctors.
Expert care for your high risk pregnancy
We care for women who are carrying multiples (twins, triplets and more), who have a history of pregnancy complications (miscarriage, preterm delivery and cervical incompetence) or have an existing medical condition that could affect your pregnancy, such as heart disease, lupus or a seizure disorder.
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 focus on personalized care for you and your developing baby, based on your risk factors, lifestyle considerations and specific health needs.
We also offer comprehensive services to identify certain fetal diseases and chromosomal abnormalities. Your baby may be at higher risk for these disorders due to your family history, ancestry or your age. Our genetic counselors work one-on-one with you to identify your baby’s risk factors 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.
Maternal Fetal Medicine at Duke: Why Choose Us
- Top ranked care. Our obstetrics and gynecology program is ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report. Our high-volume center is staffed by experienced maternal-fetal medicine specialists who provide a range of comprehensive and consultation services to women experiencing high risk pregnancies.
- Teamwork yields the best care. Our team of board-certified maternal-fetal medicine specialists (perinatologists), genetic counselors, specialized ultrasonographers and nurse practitioners work together to make sure you have the best pregnancy outcome possible. We also work closely with our pediatric specialists, who offer specialized care for babies with birth defects diagnosed in the womb that need immediate care after delivery, such as congenital heart disease.
- Advanced ultrasound. We offer a range of advanced imaging options including targeted fetal ultrasound, fetal echocardiography (ultrasound that studies your baby’s heart and blood flow) and MRI options, which produce higher-quality images than machines used at many community hospitals. Our ultrasonographers are specially trained to use these tests to detect and monitor developmental issues with your baby.
- Latest genetic research and testing. If your doctor notices any unusual physical features in your child during pregnancy, 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 research 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.
- Personalized pregnancy support. We believe that every woman is different, and so is her pregnancy. Our maternal fetal specialists provide comprehensive consultation services 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.
- Expertise in fetal diagnostics. 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 lowers your risk of complications.
MATERNAL FETAL MEDICINE
Our certified genetic counselors are available to any women who believe their baby may be at risk for certain chromosomal disorders (such as Down syndrome or Trisomy 18) or inherited diseases (such as Tay Sachs disease). They walk you through your baby’s risk factors and screening options. If you receive a positive diagnosis, they offer information on the latest research on these diseases and connect you with support programs and community resources.
We help women with pre-existing medical conditions plan for conception and monitor them throughout pregnancy. Our maternal-fetal specialists understand the special needs and potential risks of expectant moms with conditions such as heart disease or Lupus. We also work closely with women who have a history of risk factors or complications, such as miscarriage, cervical incompetence and preterm delivery, as well as women who develop problems during pregnancy, including partial and complete placenta previa. Your obstetrician will typically refer you to us in these cases.
Measures your baby’s heart rate in your womb to detect any heart abnormalities and to check the baby’s well being. Fetal heart rate can change in response to certain complications, changes in the uterus or decreased oxygen.
We provide the full spectrum of advanced screening and diagnostic testing, performed by skilled ultrasonographers with experience detecting problems and monitoring high-risk patients, including chorionic villus sampling. We also offer routine and detailed ultrasound services.
MATERNAL FETAL MEDICINE
Provides detailed measures of your baby and helps determine whether he or she is developing properly.
Combines the results of ultrasound measurements with maternal blood sampling to determine your baby’s chance of having Down syndrome, Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13.
Also called the AFP screen, triple screen, or quad screen, it measures several proteins in your blood to assess your baby’s risk for Down syndrome, Trisomy 18 and spina bifida.
Ultrasound imaging guides a thin needle through the mother’s abdomen and uterus to collect a small amount of amniotic fluid. It is an option for pregnant women with certain risk factors, such as advanced age, family history of birth defects. The test is more than 99 percent accurate in diagnosing chromosomal abnormalities. Additional testing of the fluid can diagnose more than 98 percent of neural tube defects, an opening in the spinal cord or brain.
Chorionic villus sampling uses ultrasound guidance to sample placental tissue from the cervix or abdomen, depending on the position of the placenta. CVS is performed between 10 to 12 weeks of pregnancy, and can diagnose chromosomal abnormalities earlier than amniocentesis.