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High-Risk Pregnancy (Maternal Fetal Medicine)

While the majority of pregnancies go smoothly, some can become high-risk pregnancies without the mother knowing it. In other cases, mothers are aware that they are at high risk because of a previous complication or genetic factor. To ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy, AHN provides highly experienced Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialists who are skilled at caring for women at risk during this important time.

Allegheny Health Network hospitals serve as regional referral centers for high-risk pregnancies with outreach sites throughout western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. West Penn Hospital houses the central office of this program, but also provides services at all the AHN hospitals with OB services. In the fall of 2014, these services will also be provided in the Health + Wellness Pavilions in Wexford and Bethel Park.

In addition to the Maternal Fetal Medicine Program, AHN features:

  • Two Level III neonatal intensive care units — the highest and most sophisticated level of care possible — is available at West Penn and Saint Vincent Hospitals, and a Level II nursery is available at Forbes Hospital. Additionally, when Jefferson Hospital opens its birthing facilities in late 2014, it will have a Level II nursery.
  • Life-saving, neonatal air and ground transport services servicing western Pennsylvania.
  • The region's first Infant Apnea Center was created at West Penn Hospital many years ago, and continues to evaluate, manage and monitor babies and young children at risk for life-threatening events.
  • The innovative diagnostic and treatment services at the AHN Center for Reproductive Medicine, providing couples facing infertility an array of fertility options, including intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization and a comprehensive local donor egg program.
  • A comprehensive range of pediatric care, and respected teams of pediatricians and pediatric sub-specialists.

Designed – and with care coordinated – by perinatologists, this highly regarded program provides an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to high risk obstetrics, genetics and genetic-related issues, combined with advanced technology and attentive, personalized care for each expectant mother, when she needs it most. View our board certified specialists.

These specialists provide:

Consultative Care

We take a flexible, consultative approach to high-risk care, keeping the referring physician involved at each stage. Our program's physicians provide prompt feedback to a referring physician via telephone and fax. The referring physician has direct, 24-hour access to a perinatologist so there is no gap in communication. Our team is staffed by board-certified OB/GYN medical geneticists and genetic counselors.

Perinatal Consultations

The perinatal staff is widely accessible for consultations to assess the risk factors involved in a patient's pregnancy. The following perinatal services are provided:

  • Consultations regarding management of a pregnancy complicated by maternal disease such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiac disease or renal disease
  • Consultations regarding previous pregnancy issues, including repeated losses, preterm delivery, severe intrauterine growth restriction and pre-eclampsia
  • Consultation or complete management related to abnormal fetal conditions
  • Referral and/or assistance in performing amniocentesis (genetic and pulmonary) and in managing isoimmunization
  • Advice regarding the timing and method of delivery

The perinatal staff is also available by telephone for consultations on complications that may develop during pregnancy.

Prenatal Genetics and Genetic Counseling

Our high-risk obstetric clinicians are available to consult with you to assess and help manage the risk factors of your pregnancy.

Pregnancy complicated by maternal disease such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiac disease or renal disease:

  • Previous pregnancy losses, preterm delivery, severe intrauterine growth restriction and pre-eclampsia
  • Comprehensive Medical management related to abnormal fetal conditions
  • Amniocentesis (genetic and pulmonary) and in managing isoimmunization
  • Timing and method of delivery

The staff is also available by telephone for consultations on complications that may develop during pregnancy.

Ultrasound Evaluations

Ultrasound evaluations, performed by a certified ultrasound sonographer and reviewed by a perinatologist or medical geneticist, provide prompt, accurate feedback of any abnormalities to your doctor.

These evaluations are performed for:

  • Elevated maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (MSAFP) levels
  • Increased chromosome abnormality risk by multiple marker screening or 1st trimester testing
  • Neural tube/CNS defects
  • Omphalocele/gastroschisis
  • Renal abnormalities
  • Cardiac defects

We use ultrasound to evaluate concerns of abnormal fetal growth, abnormalities of amniotic fluid volume and in cases of a multiple pregnancy to answer questions of growth and development.

3D and 4D Ultrasounds

We receive many inquiries regarding 3D and 4D ultrasounds of unborn babies. We perform ultrasound studies only as a diagnostic study ordered by a physician. We adhere to the guidelines of many national medical organizations including the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. We do not perform examinations for keepsake purposes. If we are able to obtain 3D pictures in the course of the examination, we are happy to provide them to our patients at no additional charge.

Fetal Testing

The program offers a full range of fetal testing, including the following:

  • Non-stress tests
  • Biophysical profiles
  • Amniotic fluid indices
  • Doppler flow assessments

Communication of results to the referring physician is immediate, via telephone or fax.

Find out more about this specialty at a location near you.