What types of tests are performed in fetal medicine?

Fetal medicine involves a variety of tests to monitor and diagnose the health of the fetus. Common tests include:

  • Ultrasound Scans: These are used to visually examine the fetus for physical abnormalities.
  • Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT): A blood test that can detect certain genetic conditions.
  • Amniocentesis: Involves taking a small sample of amniotic fluid to test for genetic disorders.
  • Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS): A test where a sample of placental tissue is taken for genetic testing.
  • Fetal Echocardiography: A detailed ultrasound to check the baby’s heart.
  • Doppler Ultrasound: Assesses blood flow in the baby’s blood vessels.
Is fetal medicine only for high-risk pregnancies?

While fetal medicine is often associated with high-risk pregnancies, such as those involving older mothers, multiple births, or known genetic risks, it can be beneficial for all pregnancies. Regular monitoring and tests can ensure the health and well-being of the fetus, regardless of the risk level associated with the pregnancy. 

Are fetal medicine procedures safe?

Most fetal medicine procedures are safe and carry minimal risk. However, some invasive tests like amniocentesis and CVS do have a small risk of complications, such as infection or miscarriage. It’s important to discuss the risks and benefits of these procedures with your healthcare provider.

Can fetal medicine help with genetic counseling?

Yes, fetal medicine plays a crucial role in genetic counseling. By identifying genetic abnormalities or conditions in the fetus, genetic counselors can provide parents with information about the likelihood of genetic disorders, potential treatments, and the impact on the child’s life.

How are fetal abnormalities treated after birth?

The treatment of fetal abnormalities after birth varies depending on the specific condition. Some conditions may require immediate surgery or medical intervention after birth, while others might be managed with long-term medical care and therapy.

Can fetal medicine detect all birth defects?

While fetal medicine can detect many birth defects, especially those related to physical structure and certain genetic conditions, it’s not foolproof. Some defects may not be detectable or may only become apparent after birth.

Are there lifestyle changes I should make if I'm under fetal medicine care?

If you’re under fetal medicine care, it’s generally advised to follow a healthy lifestyle. This includes a balanced diet, regular exercise as advised by your doctor, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and reducing stress. Your doctor may provide specific recommendations based on your individual health needs and the condition of the fetus.

What is the difference between a routine ultrasound and a fetal medicine ultrasound?

A routine ultrasound is a standard procedure performed during pregnancy to check the basic anatomy and growth of the fetus. A fetal medicine ultrasound, on the other hand, is more specialized and detailed. It’s used to closely examine the fetus for any abnormalities, particularly when a pregnancy is considered high-risk or when abnormalities were suspected in a routine ultrasound.