When to See a Perinatologist

For obstetricians, expectant mothers, and others involved in prenatal care, high-risk perinatology can be an important and interesting topic. When does a pregnant woman need to see a perinatologist, and why? How can Ob-Gyn care providers work with perinatal specialists to find positive outcomes for patients? We are here to answer some of these questions and help clarify the factors involved if a mother’s or healthcare provider’s question is when to see a perinatologist.

High-Risk Pregnancies: A Definition

A high-risk pregnancy is one in which some condition puts the mother, the developing fetus, or both at higher-than-normal risk for complications during or after the pregnancy and birth. Women with health conditions, whether preexisting or resulting from their current pregnancy, are considered to be at high risk for a complicated pregnancy. An unborn child’s health conditions can cause complications, as well. Obesity, diabetes, and birth defects can all cause a pregnancy to be considered high risk. Women with more than one gestation and those with a history of difficult pregnancies are also in the high-risk category. A high risk pregnancy may require additional surveillance and/or treatments best made with the most up to date evidence based research to achieve the best outcomes for mom and baby.

Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialists

What is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist? An MFM specialist is an Ob-Gyn who has completed two to three years of medical education beyond the typical training requirements of other Ob-Gyn physicians. MFM specialists are experts in the field of high-risk perinatology, typically spending a great deal of time researching important topics in this area. They are ready to handle pregnancy-related threats to the health of mothers or their unborn babies in many cases, and even in emergency situations. For instance, perinatal specialists such as those at Arizona-based Valley Perinatal Services can address the unique and critical needs of an expectant mother who arrives at the hospital after an accident as well as assess the care requirements necessary for an unborn baby with unexpected health concerns that arise. In addition to providing consultations, co-management, and even transfer of care plans before, during, and after a pregnancy, these specialists provide education for peers and patients on topics surrounding high-risk pregnancies. MFM specialists are concerned with the well-being of unborn infants and their mothers, and their goal is to work toward the best possible outcome for high-risk pregnancies.

Working Together

One of the best qualities of MLM specialists is that they are able to work with healthcare providers across the ObGyn specialty, including NPs, Ob-GYNs, medical assistants, and family physicians, to handle the needs of a high-risk pregnancy. Coordinated care in such complex situations is essential, and specialists like those at Valley Perinatal are dedicated to working with a team-based mindset to find solutions and help involved parties decide when to see a perinatologist.

A high-risk pregnancy can be concerning for an expectant mother and challenging for her physician. Perinatal specialists can help reassure patients and work with coordinated teams of prenatal care providers to strive for the best outcome in high-risk pregnancy situations. It can be confusing to understand when to see a perinatologist and when to proceed with standard prenatal care, but the information above should help all involved parties make a sound decision that is right for expectant mothers and their unborn children.

Are you an expectant mother looking for perinatal help, or a care provider who wants to work with an MLM specialist to support a patient’s care during her high-risk pregnancy? Patients can ask their Ob-Gyns about teaming up with our Arizona perinatal specialists at Valley Perinatal Services, while physicians can contact us online or by calling (480) 756-6000.