Get answers to the most frequently asked questions that we hear at our Maternal-Fetal Medicine practice.
What is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist?
A Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist is a fully trained obstetrician. Maternal-Fetal Medicine is a board-certified sub-specialty of obstetrics that focuses on pregnancy complications for the mother and/or fetus.
Who needs an MFM specialist?
It varies, but by and large, if the mother has a medical complication pre-dating the pregnancy, it is wise to seek a consultation or co-management services with an MFM. Some women might be better served with co-management with an MFM and their OB/GYN (1 or 2 consultations for most). The number of consultations may increase based on the complications that arise. Most women with a history of high-risk complications would benefit from a consultation with a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist.
What is the difference between an obstetrician and an MFM specialist (or perinatology MD)?
All Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists are obstetricians, but not all obstetricians are Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists. Both an obstetrician and an MFM specialist complete four years of residency for women’s services. After those four years of OB/GYN training, some practitioners will pursue additional qualifications. To get board-certified in Maternal-Fetal Medicine, one must complete an intense 3-year fellowship with accredited programs. Some OBs have a comfort level in managing the problems that an MFM specialist can handle, but the main difference is the certification.
What makes a pregnancy high-risk?
If we think of a mother’s body as an environment, ideally, we would like that environment to be as healthy as possible; for mothers with a medical condition that makes the environment less than optimal, their risk level increases. If there is a known family history of a physical or mental disorder, there is an additional risk. A healthy cellular environment, an ability to maintain the pregnancy, and family history all significantly impact pregnancy.