Pediatric perinatologists provide care for mother and child in high risk pregnancies. The conditions they treat include:
You may benefit from perinatal services if you have:
You usually do not need to be referred to a perinatologist. At your appointment, the doctor will complete a consultation about your pregnancy and symptoms.
A small number of babies are born with birth defects caused by genetic or environmental factors. Diagnostic tests will tell you if your baby will be born with a birth defect. This is different from a screening test, which will tell you if there is a risk for a birth defect.
The major categories of birth defects are:
Your doctor can look directly at your chromosomes to find a chromosome defect, like those found in children with Down syndrome. He will look at your DNA through chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis. CVS involves obtaining a small part of the placenta. In an amniocentesis, your doctor will take a small amount of amniotic fluid from around the baby. He will analyze the samples for genetic, chromosomal and birth defect conditions.
Perinatologists work with genetic counselors to determine if your baby is at higher risk for a birth defect. They will collect information about your personal, pregnancy and family histories. Women who seek genetic counseling usually:
If you have diabetes or develop diabetes during pregnancy, your perinatologist can create a plan for you to manage the disease. They encourage a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy and hope to maintain the best blood glucose levels for you and your baby. When you meet with a diabetes counselor, you will discuss:
Perinatologists perform ultrasounds throughout pregnancy to check the location of your baby, assess the due date and growth and evaluate your baby for abnormalities. An ultrasound uses sound waves to take pictures of your baby, uterus, placenta and cervix. Many perinatologists offer high resolution ultrasounds for increased visibility and better analysis.