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PerinatologyPerinatology, or maternal-fetal medicine, refers to the specialized care of pregnant women and their babies. Sacred Heart HealthCare System’s perinatologists provide care for high-risk pregnancies and are experts in a wide variety of complex maternal-fetal conditions. They will help keep you and your baby healthy.

Conditions evaluated and/or treated by a perinatologist may include:

  • Maternal conditions or diseases such has:
    • Advanced maternal age
    • High blood pressure
    • Preeclampsia
    • Maternal metabolic diseases, including diabetes
    • Infectious diseases
    • Platelet alloimmunization (NAIT or FMAIT)
    • Maternal lupus
    • Poor past pregnancy history
  • Multiple gestation (twins and higher order multiples)
  • Known/suspected fetal anomalies

Other counseling services are available.

Higher Levels of Ultrasound
If you have a high-risk pregnancy, non-invasive higher levels of ultrasound may be used to evaluate the growth and development of your baby.

Amniocentesis, a common procedure used to evaluate pregnancy, involves removing a small amount of amniotic fluid from the sac surrounding the fetus and testing the fluid sample for possible birth defects.

During the procedure, a fine needle is inserted into your uterus to remove a sample of amniotic fluid under ultrasound guidance. The fluid sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. Though it cannot identify all possible birth defects, amniocentesis can detect certain types of birth defects such as Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and spina bifida.

Amniocentesis is generally offered to women who have a significant risk for genetic diseases, including those who:

  • Have an abnormal ultrasound or triple or quad test value
  • Have a family history of certain birth defects
  • Have previously had a pregnancy or child with a birth defect
  • Will be 35 or older at the time of delivery

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