Patients are referred to us by their OB/GYN if a fetal abnormality occurs, a mother is advanced in age, or there are multiple babies, just to name a few reasons. Our role is to present the facts in a calm, comprehensive way and respect and support whatever direction the family determines. We provide the following consultations:
Abnormal Ultrasound Finding
Fetal abnormalities can be detected by a prenatal ultrasound. “Abnormal” might imply that something is wrong such as an actual birth defect, but it often means that the initial ultrasound has found something that a referring obstetrical provider is unaccustomed to seeing or is unable to see everything needed to determine that the baby is developing normally. A detailed/Level 2 ultrasound is performed to better examine the baby’s development. We understand that this occurrence results in feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. However, it could be nothing or something mild that will not ultimately affect the baby. If something serious is detected, we present all risks and treatment plan options.
Fetal Growth Restriction
This is a condition in which an unborn baby is smaller than expected for the number of weeks of pregnancy. This can occur at any time during pregnancy and may affect the overall size of the baby and growth of organs, tissues, and cells. Many cases are due to a normal family trait from either parent’s family. But around one-third of cases can indicate an underlying problem with the baby or poor placental function. Detailed ultrasound and more frequent ultrasounds help determine the level of seriousness and need for treatment. Care may also include tracking fetal movements, corticosteroid medicine, hospital stay, early delivery, or cesarean delivery.
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Carrying two or more babies increases risk for early labor and fetal growth problems. When two babies share a single placenta, there can be further challenges. It is necessary to monitor multiple fetuses with an ultrasound. Advanced procedures are also available to treat complications.
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Prenatal Genetic Counseling
Genetic counseling can take place prior to pregnancy to assess the risk of the baby having genetic disorders. Or it can occur during the pregnancy especially if a fetal anomaly is detected e.g. cleft lip, spina bifida, or heart defects. In either situation, counseling determines how much a child is at risk for a genetic disorder. The counseling includes a discussion of blood tests and other options for diagnosis of a genetic disorder, interpretation of results, education and resources, emotional support, and options for care during and after pregnancy. By identifying these conditions during pregnancy, it is possible to determine the best location for the delivery, if a cesarean delivery may be the safest for the baby, and to anticipate possible problems in the first few days of life.
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Prior Infant or Family Member with Birth Defect
If either parent has a family health history of a birth defect or a prior infant was born with a birth defect, there may be a higher risk of having another child with the same defect. Ultrasounds along with possible blood tests may detect the birth defect or provide reassurance for the parents. Our goal is to offer the family full support by providing education and resources as well as recommending options so the family can make important decisions. By identifying these conditions early, parents and their obstetrical provider can better plan for the delivery of the baby.