What is a Maternal Fetal Medicine?

Maternal-fetal medicine, also known as perinatology, focuses on the health concerns of the mother and fetus during pregnancy. This type of doctor’s job is unique and requires specialized training. The benefits of this type of care far exceed the cost. In this article, you will learn about the benefits of maternal-fetal medicine and how to find a specialist near you.


Perinatology, also known as maternal-fetal medicine, is the specialty of physicians who focus on the health of both the mother and the fetus during pregnancy. This type of doctor can help women with prenatal care, or even help the expectant mother regain her health after childbirth. There are many different specialties of maternal-fetal medicine. Read on to learn more about each one.

OB-GYN doctors who specialize in maternal-fetal medicine are specialized physicians who specialize in this area. They are typically obstetricians but have extra training in this field. They are experts in high-risk pregnancy and the complications that can arise during pregnancy. These doctors may work as consultants or co-managers and are equally comfortable providing care to women during antepartum ambulatory visits or in-hospital deliveries. The need for these doctors is projected to grow in the future as the population of women grows.

The study surveyed 118 medical practitioners in the United States. Seventy-five percent of respondents responded to the survey. Forty-nine percent of respondents answered every question. Respondents included women and men who practiced maternal-fetal medicine, hematology, thrombosis, obstetrics, internal medicine, and gynecology. Most respondents were attendings, with a minority of subspecialty trainees and residents. They had more than ten years of experience and practiced at academic medical centers or hospitals.

OB-GYN specialists specialize in a variety of different types of conditions affecting the fetus and pregnant women. Maternal-fetal medicine specialists can help women manage sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) during pregnancy. In addition to providing a safe environment for pregnant women, they also have the knowledge of fetal development and the complexities of HIV medication regimens. So, it is important to seek the advice of a specialized doctor for specific problems.

High-risk pregnancy is another common problem that is treated by a specialist. During a high-risk pregnancy, the chances of preterm labor are higher for the mother. This is because the woman who delivered a preterm infant has an increased risk of having another baby. However, a high-risk pregnancy does not necessarily mean that a pregnancy will be difficult. A high-risk pregnancy may need special monitoring, and she should discuss her medical history with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist.


Maternal-fetal medicine is a specialty within the larger field of pediatrics. Maternal-fetal specialists perform specialized tests and procedures for pregnant women and their babies, and they coordinate care with obstetricians and other specialists to improve the health of the mother and child. These doctors are highly trained, with experience in complex pregnancies. In addition to their expertise, they work with genetic counselors and women’s health specialists.

During pregnancy, the mother’s health may be at risk for various conditions, including low blood sugar, anemia, and infection. Among the many problems that can slow down a pregnancy and cause a miscarriage are infections, high blood sugar, and chromosomal abnormalities. An MFM can perform diagnostic tests to determine whether the mother has these conditions or not, and prescribe treatments to reduce the risk for her next pregnancy. A MFM can also perform tests and provide treatment to mothers suffering from preterm labor, such as intrauterine blood transfusions.

The book also explores the ethical issues surrounding these issues. It includes chapters written by practising clinicians, which is especially useful for pregnant women. The author Carson Strong addresses the moral status of the fetus and discusses the ethical dilemmas associated with screening a pregnant woman for HIV. A chapter by a practicing clinician, Paquita de Zulueta, addresses the problems faced by women who refuse medical treatment. Another chapter by Wendy Savage analyses the pros and cons of vaginal delivery versus caesarean section and Neil McIntosh discusses the ethical dilemmas arising when withdrawing life-sustaining treatment from a premature or handicapped neonate.

Maternal-fetal medicine also provides care for women with HIV. HIV medication regimens can be complicated and need expert guidance. Maternal-fetal medicine specialists will monitor the length of a woman’s cervical tube to prevent future pregnancies. These specialists are skilled in the treatment of HIV and related infections. These experts are an invaluable resource during pregnancy. The benefits of maternal-fetal medicine cannot be emphasized enough.

Referral process

The referral process for maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialists varies, depending on the level of expertise of the primary prenatal site. In Arkansas, increased contact between local providers and MFMs has led to a marked increase in MFM referrals. The ANGELS project (Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning Systems) was created by the state’s health departments and medical community to improve obstetric care in rural areas and referrals to MFM specialists. The project provided best practice guidelines and a 24-hour call center to increase the number of patients referred to MFM specialists.

The study found that referral rates varied across prenatal providers, although there were few statistically significant differences between the two types. Family physicians tend to refer to MFM more often for conditions that OBs treat, while health departments tend to refer for pregnancy-induced hypertension, multiple pregnancies, and insufficient cervix. Referral rates also varied by health department, geographic location, and time. Further research is needed to identify factors that contribute to differences in referral rates.

Maternal-fetal medicine specialists are able to provide extra specialized care for high-risk or complicated pregnancies. The goal of these specialists is to protect the health of both mother and fetus during pregnancy. Some women have existing medical conditions or develop new ones during pregnancy that require close monitoring. Maternal-fetal medicine specialists provide care for both the mother and fetus during the entire pregnancy.

Maternal-fetal medicine specialists are recommended for a number of high-risk obstetric conditions. For example, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services have established a statewide pregnancy outcomes program. This program involves a team of three or four board-certified Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists and one non-board-certified physician. The team dubbed the new service ANGELS (Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines Education and Learning Systems).


Maternal-fetal medicine is an expensive practice. A study from Utah found that induction of labor was associated with higher costs than expectant management. This study compared five hospitals’ costs of maternal-fetal care with those of nulliparous women at full term. The costs of elective induction were higher than those of expectant management, but the savings during antenatal care more than offset this difference.

Women and Infants Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine specializes in care for women who are at risk of premature delivery or other pregnancy-related complications. This means that out-of-pocket costs may be higher than those of other departments. In addition to maternal-fetal medicine specialists, Mayo Clinic has surgeons with experience in fetal surgery and pediatric neurologists. This team provides high-quality care for the entire family.

Cost of Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists varies from hospital to hospital. A single visit may require a consultation with multiple specialists. Because the treatment of a high-risk pregnancy requires more frequent and intensive monitoring, these specialists’ fees may be high. Additionally, women in rural areas may have to travel further to see one. To find a MFM specialist in your area, ask your ob-gyn for a referral, or use the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s Find an MFM Specialist tool.

During a typical pregnancy, a woman will have seven to twelve prenatal visits. More prenatal visits can result in complications. Obstetricians charge approximately $90 per visit. Ultrasounds and laboratory tests are separately billed. Some procedures can cost more than $2,000. Depending on the level of risk, maternal-fetal medicine may be a necessary treatment for some women. There are many options for treating these conditions, but some women may be forced to pay for some of them out-of-pocket.